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Synopsis: Six young archaeology students discover the remains of an ancient Aztec mummy and accidentally unleash the fury of an evil god.


Now for the Zone's Eye View:

By Scott Maravilla

Director: David DeCoteau

Starring: Jeff Peterson, Trent Latta, Ariauna Albright, Russell Richardson, Michelle Erickson, Brenda Blondell, Michael Lutz, Christopher Cullen, Anton Falk, Francis Armato, Frederick Armato

David DeCoteau's Rapid Heart Pictures reminds us that a mummy is meant to be scary. Ancient Evil: Scream of the Mummy is a direct to video delight that horror fans may want to check out the next time they're at Blockbuster Video. I think general audiences will lack the patience for this film as the acting is pedestrian and the plot rather thin. Christopher Bergschneider and Jeffrey S. Farley deserve to be singled out for the film's exceptional make-up design and F/X.

Ancient Evil is about a group of college students and their professor examining in a remote compound an ancient Aztec mummy found on one of the professor's archaeological digs. As it turns out, one of the students, Norman (Trent Latta), informs Professor Cyphers (a fine performance by Brenda Blondell), that he is an Aztec high priest descended from a long line of secret practitioners. He reanimates the mummy, referred to from thereon as "the Servant," and orders it to kill the professor. From then on, the mummy goes about killing off the college students while nerdy Norman, who bears a strong resemblance to the star of Parker Lewis Can't Lose, attempts to bring about the apocalypse by arranging to sacrifice a virgin. The fact that he can find one among a group of college students is stretching the audiences' suspension of disbelief, but somehow I was able to get past that.

Director David DeCoteau knows how to make a quality low budget flick that is rarely seen since outside of Roger Corman and Full Moon Pictures. First, he shoots on film, not digital video, to give it the feel and texture of a motion picture. He also keeps the film simple and intimate. Most indy horror films suffer from over ambition. Trying to have sets that are meant to be something more complicated but look cheap. Here, DeCoteau keeps all of the action in and around the isolated compound thereby giving us the claustrophobic tension of so many of the great creature features. There is a back story but not an abundance of mythology that makes a short film feel otherwise crowded and hampered.

I am looking forward to seeing more of the films in Rapid Heart's catalog. I give this film a 4.



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