Monday, April 30, 2012
WAIT A MINUTE! A review of THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS VS. A MUMMY
Chris Lukeman has done it again, this time with a horror comedy about . . . well, you saw the title. That’s exactly what it’s about.
A mummy is delivered (for some unfathomable reason) to the University of Illinois at the beginning of the movie. No one signs for it, so the driver just leaves the fucking thing and drives off. Shortly thereafter, the mummy wakes up and starts causing mayhem.
Meet Casey and his friend, Bill Williams. They have a plan to trick a couple of girls into going out with them, which involves Casey pretending to be knocked over by a mad bicycler (Bill) in front of them. This works out when Sarah and Jo Ann see this display and feel sorry for him. Luckily, they don’t recognize Bill later.
Perhaps all black guys look alike to them. And yes, true to the usual formula, Bill is the first to die. His death is treated like kind of a bummer by Casey, who was really looking forward to getting laid that night.
Now that they know a mummy is on the loose on campus, they go to an archaeology professor with an English accent (naturally) named Rudolphe, and they begin to formulate a plan to stop the monster. In the meantime, the rest of the college students have embraced the mummy. They’re sick of the discrimination being shown against it, and they are rallying together to protest the campus’s attempt at killing the bastard.
Throw in a campus officer who thinks he’s a hard-bitten cop, a guy wearing a shirt that says RED SHIRT before dying in a very cannon fodder-ish way, a lot of blood, and a musical number, and you get the flavor of this movie. What’s that? Yes. There is a MUSICAL NUMBER.
This is an indie flick, so there are a few problems. For one, the sound quality is pretty bad. The dialogue is hard to hear, so you turn it up. However, the music is spot on, so when it starts playing, you have to turn the volume down. Also, the pacing is bad due to a lot of bad edits. The acting is off because everything seems so staged. It’s like the actors all know they’re acting, rather than successfully pretending to be someone else. Also, because of the staginess of this, there is a bad scene in which a group of characters are talking, and the camera pans back and forth between each one who speaks . . . but they wait until the camera is on them before they say anything. Ugh.
The music is really good, though. Sometimes, it sounds like it belongs in an Ed Wood movie, and at other moments, it’s very reminiscent of silent movie soundtracks.
The effects are pretty good, for an indie flick. But where the movie really shines is in the humor. There are a lot of really good bits here. The scene where Rudolphe gets parking ticket after parking ticket after parking ticket is priceless. He also has an amazing fight scene with the mummy, which concludes in him dying in a very Obi-Wan-ish way. Yes, his body disappears from under a blanket he was covered with. Pay close attention to the note in his hand immediately after he kicks the mummy in the balls.
In another scene, the characters are talking about hunting down the mummy, and Casey holds up his hand and says, “Wait a minute!” Just like he’s about to object or offer a nugget of wisdom. He then pauses. Watch the timer on your DVD player. A full minute of absolute silence then ensues before he agrees to their plan.
In a scene where one person is murdered so badly that blood completely covers a wall, another person who was standing in front of the wall, moves away, showing a human-shaped clean spot on the wall. That same character later decides to touch up her make-up, despite the fact that she’s still covered in blood.
The best, though, comes when the group of characters that kind of act like a Greek play’s chorus encounters the mummy, they’re ready for battle. They then remember they have a test tomorrow and decide to run instead. They inadvertently lead the mummy into a trap (weighed by a fucking BOOM BOX!), and when they have the creature subdued, they decide to play it like the Scooby gang. They decide to find out who’s really behind that mask. Instead of taking it off, though, they accidentally take off its head, spraying blood all over everyone.
This film is flawed, and it is very noticeable. However, it’s just so damned funny that you’ll forgive a lot of transgressions. You’ll also see a very unusual death: one of the characters gets stabbed by a phone. No, not a cell phone, a PAY PHONE. Where the fuck else are you going to see something like that?
THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS VS. A MUMMY
Directed by Chris Lukeman
Produced by Illini Film and Video
89 minutes $11.99