The Mummy has returned to usher in a new era for horror films. At least, that’s likely the intent here, but the series has made some mistakes in the past so we’ll see if this film can really take home the gold. While it does ring more true to the classic Mummy mythos than the previous film, it does make its share of mistakes. I don’t think you’ll be bored though. We have a pretty colorful cast of characters here and at least one character does try to fight back against the Mummy.
The film starts off with a flashback about how an Egyptian king was overthrown and everyone got murdered. We fast forward to the modern day where Dr. Basil and the rich Stanley have broken into the tomb. They steal the coffin and head back home to show it off. Unfortunately it appears that the coffin had a curse within it that has begun to affect everyone who walked into the tomb. There is now a murderous Mummy on the loose and the bodies are starting to pile up. Stanley wants to leave, but the cops are keeping everyone in one place. Can he get out alive?
Stanley may be a predictable character, but he sure is an entertaining one. He’s the classic rich guy who doesn’t care about lives. He just wants to turn a profit and let everyone else take the fall. This is especially evident when he tries to discredit Basil and throw him away for life. Stanley ultimately only seems to care about his family, everyone else is considered expendable. He’s certainly an antagonist, but a fun one nonetheless. You’re still rooting for him against the Mummy. He did make a lot of big mistakes though. If you’re trying to flee the country you probably shouldn’t wait in a dark alley for someone to come and help. Especially when you’re rich and the locals know it. Ah well, Stanley tried.
Then you have Dr. Basil who is reasonable I guess. He was annoying in his final scenes, but I guess that makes sense since he was poisoned. Still, it makes for a scene that drags on quite a bit as an old lady makes fun of him and then he’s taken out of the picture. Speaking of which, the old lady was annoying as well. She’s basically just here to rub the deaths in the faces of the victims before they perish. She doesn’t have much point here except to egg everyone on and get them into trouble. I mean, she performs the role quite admirably of course, but cutting out the drool in her scenes would have helped me take her seriously.
I consider Stanley to basically be the main character here, but Paul and Maggie get big roles as well. Paul is the son of Stanley and unlike his father he wants to work his way to the top. He doesn’t want to be drunk on power and sets his sights on stopping the Mummy instead of fleeing. Meanwhile Maggie knows how to read Egyptian and was against going into the tomb in the first place. Still, now she may be the only one with the power to stop this situation. It puts her in a tricky spot. Both characters are pretty reasonable. I do think Maggie made a big mistake in going to some random fortune teller to try and dispel her fears though. Even if the fortune teller wasn’t evil, did she really think anything could be done at that stage in the game?
I also have to give the cops some credit here. They were on point for the most part even if they didn’t really uncover much in their investigations. At least they were trying to help out and they certainly managed to be a thorn in Stanley’s side. The chief finally even relented in the end so at least he could try and save some victims. He maybe should have done that a bit sooner, but I think he just wanted to axe Stanley. Not the most heroic move of course, but it is what it is. Stanley’s wife also looks pretty good here. She’s always being passive aggressive and really enjoys the fact that she never went into the tomb.
So, most of these are positives, but what are the negatives? Well, pretty much the usual Hammer stuff. The film can be a bit violent here with everyone getting bumped off. People are strangled, burned to death, crushed, etc. The Mummy makes sure to take everyone down at some point or another. The Mummy also doesn’t make for a particularly good antagonist. He’s slow and you can’t believe that he is beating everyone the whole time. Even if he is bullet proof you can at least out run the guy. The only one I can’t blame is Basil since he was sick. At least the photographer tried fighting back though. You’ll feel bad for Stanley’s right hand man though since the guy gets the short end of the stick throughout the film.
The movie’s humor and writing were on point though. This one actually was a step ahead of most of the other Mummy titles. It could have definitely been a lot worse. At least it’s entertaining throughout and has a quick pace. If you’re going to do a Mummy film then you can definitely take a lot of cues from this one. It knew how to properly develop the characters after all.
Overall, The Mummy’s Shroud is actually decent. The shroud itself is actually important by the end so it’s also a title that makes sense. That’s always a good idea as opposed to just having that in the title to sound cool. The slasher elements we could have done without, but it’s handled in a less graphic way than it likely would nowadays. I won’t give the film a positive score, but it’s not bad either so it lands smack in the middle. If this film sounds like your cup of tea then you should check it out. At the very least, this film will keep you guessing as to who will get bumped off first.