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on 27 December 2004
Obviously after looking at the price you aren't expecting the highest quality of production here, but everything from the story and acting to the effects is shabby - so obviously cheaply made. The story had potential, but was ruined; long story short a self-mummified druid witch needs a new body, and finds a candidate staying at her new home. The ending was slightly unexpected but couldn't save the other dull 90 minutes. As for the acting, the main married couple of the film are alcoholics, but they somehow seem wooden. To make matters worse at times there seems to be an ambience obstructing the dialogue to quite a serious extent. All in all, this seriously isn't worth your money no matter how interested you are in this film genre or druidism as a topic. Quite frankly, I enjoyed Roald Dahl's "Witches" the movie better, and yes I am an adult and no I don't like that film either. To sum the film up... shocking, for all the wrong reasons. And as for that acting...
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on 5 May 2012
This is an unusual, often slow-moving film that is full of bizarre aspects that really do meet in a final - strange but satisfactory - conclusion. I first saw this ages back, anticipating - from the cover itself - a no-holds-barred horror - and found instead a collection of likeable characters, some excellent music, and real entertainment. I recommend this horror film.
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on 29 July 2003
I wasn't expecting too much as it's a shockingly undermarketed film - considering.
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised. The cinematography is innovative and beautifully executed. Most of the characters are solid and the main couple endearing. The soundtrack is appropriately eerie and then at times irreverant. The locations, sets, lighting and costumes are excellent.
There are a couple of plot failures - or rather plot jerks, were you feel yourself jumping back out of the screen. In one scene in particular you feel very uncomfortable, almost embarrased for the actors.
Some in our home audience criticised the plot as complex or muddled at the end; and some complained that there were no obvious motives. These are all valid perspectives. The film relies heavily on flashbacks to convey meaning to the present and with a bit of lateral thinking you can work out excactly what's going on.
What grips you about the film from the outset is that it is very atmospheric and cleverly shot. And for those reasons alone you should watch it.
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A mummy movie is possibly the easiest kind of horror movie to make -- it comes to life and terrorizes the living. Simple, but effective.

And yet "The Eternal: Kiss of the Mummy" (aka "Trance") has managed to screw that simple formula up. Despite the ever-interesting presence of Christopher Walken and some pretty cinematography, the story itself is a flaccid, flabby mess of plot holes and basic writing errors -- including some of the least sympathetic characters I've ever seen in a movie.

Nora (Alison Elliott) and Jim (Jared Harris) are a pair of wealthy alcoholics in New York, who have decided to dry out on a visit to her grandmother in Ireland. Yes, they plan to dry out in the land of Guinness, because apparently it doesn't count as booze. But when they arrive, Nora immediately blacks out and crashes the car.

And it keeps getting better -- her grandmother has that highly selected senility you only see in movies, and her weird uncle Bill (Walken) only seems interested in the bog-preserved mummy of a druid witch who murder-suicided in the Iron Age. Of course, the mummy comes back to life... for no reason that's ever explained... and she looks exactly like Nora. Now she apparently wants to steal Nora's body... even though her own body seems to be working fine.

Director/writer Michael Almereyda seems to have only a vague idea of how proper storytelling works. Important characters appear without introduction two-thirds of the way through, logic is constantly violated (so Niamh doesn't realize that a cigarette is ON FIRE, but she knows what whiskey is?), and the awkward climax ends up pretty much making no sense at all.

Worst of all: huge oozing lumps of exposition are constantly thrown at us like lumps of excrement... from people who couldn't POSSIBLY know what they are talking about. How does Bill know the history of Niamh? Magic, apparently. How does Alice know all about her powers and intentions? Never explained. It becomes infuriating after awhile, especially when you realize that Alice is JUST there to exposit.

Almereyda tries to compensate by draping the movie in a dreamy atmosphere and Ireland's peaty, raw beauty... but it's not enough. The movie sludges by at a painfully slow pace, with lots of people wandering around and having the world's slowest conversations, most of which are pretentious muckity-mystical drivel ("Every day; all the time. You wake up, open your eyes, take a breath, start over: that's how it is"). And of course, Alice monologues over everything. EVERYTHING.

And rarely do you see a movie that is so padded, yet STILL manages to drag by at a snail's pace. For instance, several characters fall down the stairs. There's apparently no symbolic meaning to it -- they just fall down the stairs because it eats up a few minutes of screen time and looks dramatic.

It also has a cast where you root for nobody, because nobody is likable. Christopher Walken comes the closest merely by being himself -- weird, off-kilter, and utterly unconvincing as a lifelong resident of Ireland. But he sadly exits the movie after only a few scenes, and we're left with... everyone else.

I kept waiting for a moment to come when we start to like and empathize with the lead characters -- a pair of rich, irresponsible alcoholics -- only to eventually realize that Almereyda intended for us to like them already. Elliott and Harris are mediocre and charmless here, especially since Elliott has to play the dual role of Nora and Niamh, which she does with slack-jawed dullness worthy of Kristen Stewart.

And the character of Alice is the most naked, blatant "exposition fairy" that I have ever seen in a film. I kept thinking that she was the love child that Nora claimed to have aborted, but it turns out that she is nobody special. Just a source of pseudo-mystical narration... and nothing else.

Watching "The Eternal: Kiss of the Mummy" is like being slowly dragged facedown through Ireland's mud -- it will leave you cold and miserable. And eventually, you'll want a Guinness to dull the pain.
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on 30 September 2003
This film came as a pleasant surprise for me. I don't know what possessed me to buy it but I'm glad I did.
Nora (Elliot) and Jim (Harris) are an alcoholic couple. They decide to visit, with their 8 year old son, the house where Nora grew up. Nora's uncle has told her that her grandmother is ill. Things go from bad to worse and they end up at the deserted manor without a means of escape.
Before very long Nora's uncle (Walken) shows Nora a the mummified remains of a corpse he claims is a 2,000 year old druid witch.
The main irritant for me was the slow start. Once it gets going it becomes very watchable. There is some gore but it restricted to what is needed to tell the story (thankfully). The second half of the film feels more like a thriller than a horror. Elliot does well playing the roles of both Nora and the witch.
To summarise -- it's a very entertaining film but you have to persevere at the beginning.
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on 9 November 2015
Not as exciting as I thought it would be.
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