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If you are looking for a slasher or a monster movie, you will be
disappointed. If you are looking for a moody, humorous, beautifully-shot B
movie, this is it. As in his previous film, Nadja, Michael Almereyda's
"monster" has human frailties and desires. He manages to find humor in his
characters' constant drunkenness (why did they come to Ireland to try to
out!?) and conveys this drunken feeling in the way the scenes cut from one
to the next. The inventive cinematography leaves several scenes etched in
your memory, and the sometimes-trip-hop soundtrack is very hip and lends
the dark mood. The pacing starts out slow but becomes engrossing and
In the end Trance/Eternal/Kiss of the Mummy is a fun film and merits multiple viewings. My sole complaint is that the visuals and the soundtrack really deserve and would benefit from large-screen presentation.
Beautiful looking and sedately handled, but immensely muddled
independent art house horror feature by writer / director Michael
Almereyda. Kind of similar in style to his film "Najda" four years
earlier, which I don't think so highly of (other than the excellent
soundtrack that accompanied it).
Nora and Jim (who are alcoholics) along with their son leave America and head to Ireland to visit Nora's grandmother. Despite the advice of their doctor not to go, as Nora one night with Jim got on the drink and she ended up falling down some stairs leaving her with a minor concussion. When getting there, she meets her uncle where he takes her down the basement to show her a decomposed body which he believes to a centuries old druid witch. Could this be the connections to the headaches and visions plaguing Nora's mind, as she'll find out when the witch is revived.
"Trance" is a touch better, but still engulfed by similar problems and nonetheless keeps the same positives. Again this atypically brooding fable is not for everyone, but it managed to hold my attention and I found the direction less concerned with its distracting artsy mechanics (than say in "Nadja") although they're still evident. There are some delirious images, consisting of jaded visions rocking the main protagonist's mind. These stylised passages hold a certain arresting, if haunting charge. However this is when it's not in its nauseating head spin of mangled ideas. While the plot has a slight structure and little narrative drive, it's stretched out by its unfocused fabricated episodic developments with its dry, upfront and moody trimmings. Every one of these characters / including the witch / monster of the piece are damaged, but still humane vessels in the search of something to make them complete. Secrets are buried, to only be awoken.
It's messy and meanders, but strangely alluring like caught in a drunken, abstract state. I put it down to the performances. A breathtaking Alison Elliot (in dual roles) and narky Jared Harris acquit themselves to their lead roles. Lois Smith holds strong. Christopher Walken looking rather weary goes about things in a sober, but underlining twisted manner. Also Jason Millar's inclusion is merely a throwaway cameo with an amusing line. Almereyda's slickly calculative direction is switched on, making good use of the lush backdrop consisting of a stunning beach line and the Gothic interiors of mansion that the enclosed action mostly takes place in. Intimate photography is sharply engineered and well-intended. The brilliant soundtrack is notable with it tunes (that are perfect choices), and the music score is clinically alienating but whimsical in flight.
A very interesting story. I think this film could have been so much more with a bigger budget. In my opinion, this was a very marketable movie idea with not enough financial backing. I would have liked to have seen more of Christopher Walken and even more chilling special effects throughout. The dialogue was a little dry, but was saved by the great cast. This movie is worth seeing at least once. It would have been better to see on the big screen but was only released direct-to-video in the U.S.
Here we have a great horror movie, presented in a very down-to-earth manner. Reminds me of classic English movies, combined with excellent acting skills of Christopher Walken, and a story line that keeps your ass tight on a sofa till the dramatic end. For people who don't necessarily need fancy special effects, and million dollar explosions to enjoy a good movie with an idea!
A good cast and they do their best with what they're given, but the story makes no sense, the characters' actions are inexplicable, and there are too many moments of unintentional humor, as when a man is killed by being pierced with pieces of a phonograph record or when they get the witch drunk to a hip hop beat and then hit her over the head with a bottle and she grabs her hostage and pouts off. The scene when the two witch and her victim (played by the same actress) are in the house together sets up like a 3 Stooges routine, and the plot begs the question: if the witch wants to possess this other woman's soul, why doesn't she just do it instead of leading these people on this elaborate chase? Not to be missed is Christopher Walkin's eyeglasses and his automotive explanation of the afterlife (paraphrased): "The ancient Egyptianas - they wee materialists. They expected the body to last through eternity, like a used car that you souped up. But the Druids, they knew you couldn't drive in the afterlife. You had to get out and walk." Huh? The ending is absolutely indecipherable. Seems like they just ran out of film.
This film seems to be completely pointless. There is no reason why anything that happens in it happens, as if it was written by a small child who got bored halfway through and thought "how can I wrap this up?". And what were Jared Harris and Christopher Walken thinking? Did they do it for a bet? I couldn't tell you the plot, I'm not entirely sure there is one to be quite frank, but if there is it didn't register. Jared and his bird go to Ireland after she falls down the stairs while lashed up, as you do. They go to a house with a very annoying small girl in it, meet Christopher Walken who has dug up some ancient woman preserved in peat. He brings her back to life for no other reason than it continues the story and she shows her gratitude by immediately icing him. From then on it all gets a bit silly. A couple of hours of my life that I'd like back!
For the art house crowd comes this critically panned film never released
theatrically in the U.S. `Nadja' director Michael Almareyda comes up with
his skewed version of The Mummy, complete with hip characters, fun
surprises, a great alternate music soundtrack, Christopher Walken doing a
Irish accent but otherwise being his quirky old self, brilliant
cinematography from Jim Denault and a flair for the unexpected.
The perfectly enjoyable heroes are Allison Elliott and Jared Harris, as a cheerfully drunken couple going to Ireland to dry out. The movie acknowledges the "alcoholic" problem by having them not deal with it or call attention to it, and it's to the movie's credit that it's never an "issue" or makes them into completely awful or unbelievably irresponsible parents (they're just normally irresponsible, like most parents.)
* * * for The Eternal, an imperfect gem.
...these are the words that came to mind after watching 1998's "THE
ETERNAL Kiss of the Mummy", originally titled "Trance". The story is
about an alcoholic couple who travel to the wife's home town in
Ireland, supposedly to sober up and give their son the opportunity to
meet his grandmother. They discover that their weird uncle (Christopher
Walken) has a 2000 year-old mummy of a Druid witch in the basement,
which he's trying to revive!
This is a Gothic tale told in the modern day and struck me as a Hammer film if it were released today, albeit it lacks the typical Hammer women. Yet, it does have Alison Elliott in the starring role of the alcoholic wife and -- although she's not in the league of the typical Hammer female -- she's alluring enough and a great actress to boot. At first, she'll strike you as the girl-next-door type -- a sort-of plain Jane -- but there's something about her face, her expressions and aura that increasingly pique your interest.
"THE ETERNAL Kiss of the Mummy" is not your typical modern-day horror schlock. It doesn't shoot for conventional horror and gore, but it IS pretty creepy in a Gothic sense. I saw "Big Bad Wolf" before I viewed this one and, although "Big Bad Wolf" is thrilling and ultra gory, it's not scary, mainly because the filmmakers & cast cop a semi-campy vibe. "THE ETERNAL", by contrast, plays it completely straight and the foggy Irish moors & centuries-old mansion add to the ghostly ambiance.
There's also a quality soundtrack with a few stand-out alternative rock numbers, like the one that plays during the end credits, "My Head Becomes the Sky" by Tara Baoth Mooney.
Like I said, the film struck me as a Hammer film if it were made today. As such, there's a Gothic beauty to it, which makes it a pleasure just to watch even if the story is "sluggish", as some criticize. It's clear that director/writer Michael Almereyda was aiming for art more than common horror thrills. I'd compare it to "The Mothman Prophecies" in this sense, albeit not as good.
After viewing, I reflected on the seemingly nonsensical story and certain things started to make sense: This is only a story about a Druid witch coming back to life on the surface; it's really about a woman in bondage to alcoholism who comes face-to-face with her lower nature -- her self-destructive side (her "id" or "flesh") -- not to mention confronting her incestuous uncle -- and trying to prevail. Going back to her home town -- her heritage, her roots -- enables her to see WHY she turned to alcohol for succor in the first place.
In essence, this is a Gothic tale about the purging of one's fleshly demons.
The film runs 95 minutes.
I watched 'Trance' on the strength of Almereyda's arty vampire flick 'Nadja'
and the presence of Christopher Walken, a great favourite of mine. I
shouldn't have bothered. The movie starts off interestingly enough with the
New York sequences, and the all-too-brief appearance of the late Jason
Miller ('The Exorcist'/'The Ninth Configuration'), but as soon as they hit
Ireland, it all goes rapidly downhill.
To add insult to injury, Walken's role is basically nothing more than a glorified cameo! Bigger than 'Sleepy Hollow' say, nothing to get your teeth into. I've liked Jared Harris in the past, in 'Happiness' and yes, 'Nadja', but he's quite poor in places here, as is the main female lead who I wasn't familiar with.
Overall, mediocre and unsuccessful in holding your attention. I actually nodded off at one stage, which is always a warning sign! A major disappointment when compared with the potential Almereyda showed with 'Nadja'. Even 'Cherry 2000' is better!!
Saw a trailer for this on another video, and decided to rent when it came out. Boy, was I disappointed! The story is extremely boring, the acting (aside from Christopher Walken) is bad, and I couldn't care less about the characters, aside from really wanting to see Nora's husband get thrashed. Christopher Walken's role is such a throw-away, what a tease!
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