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An American archaeologist is in Egypt with his pregnant wife, searching for the tomb of a long-lost Egyptian queen. At the same moment he discovers the tomb and opens it's accursed seal, his wife gives birth to his daughter. Years later it transpires that the malevolent spirit of the Egyptian queen left the tomb just as he was entering, and possessed his baby girl. As the truth becomes clear, the archaeologist realizes that he must destroy his daughter in a ceremonial ritual, before she uses her awesome powers to threaten the safety of mankind.Written by
Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
The Awakening (1980) has two endings: SPOILERS AHEAD! For the U.S. dvd, the film ends with Margaret- now possessed- staring with crazed eyes and Egyptian makeup. For the U.K. dvd, the film ends with Margaret stepping outside the museum at night, and her shadow is superimposed over the skyline of London to suggest her evil or plans. See more »
Archaeologists never know when to leave well enough alone.
Matthew Corbeck (Charlton Heston) is a veteran Egyptologist who discovers the tomb of Queen Kara. As fate would have it, her spirit leaves the tomb at the moment he enters it, and possesses his newborn daughter. 18 years later, the headstrong daughter (Stephanie Zimbalist) determines to reunite with her father in Egypt. She becomes concerned over her blackouts, and fears the worst. And the somber Matthew believes that in order to stop the evil queen, he will have to kill his girl in a ritual sacrifice.
It does sound like a good plot, doesn't it? It's based on the novel "The Jewel of the Seven Stars" by Bram Stoker of "Dracula" fame, which was previously filmed by Hammer as "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb". The Hammer version is more entertaining than this plodding effort, however. Director Mike Newell treats the material as straight drama for the most part, with thrilling and creepy moments few and far between. In his hands, the story just isn't as interesting or compelling as one might like it to be. Still, some genre fans may appreciate it for taking a more adult, restrained approach than a traditional one. Major assets include an excellent score by Claude Bolling and cinematography by the great Jack Cardiff.
Heston does a good job, as could be expected. He's actually rather low key in the leading role. Susannah York, as his associate Jane, and Jill Townsend, as his wife Anne, are fine. Zimbalist, unfortunately, just doesn't come off that well. There are some strong actors in the cast, though: Nadim Sawalha, Ian McDiarmid, Miriam Margolyes.
On location shooting in Egypt, and the resulting atmosphere of the settings, help to make this passable if never really exciting. It only picks up a little during its last third.
Five out of 10.
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