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7 Mummies (2006)
Director: Nik Quested

review by Gary McMahon

Like many bad modern horror films, 7 Mummies actually looks quite nice - some decent cinematography, a few well-composed shots, and nifty camerawork at least make it interesting to look at. Occasionally.

An inexplicable (and entirely unexplained) accident during the transportation of five convicts to a U.S. state penitentiary allows the disparate bunch to escape imprisonment - naturally; they take along their extraordinarily beautiful female prison guard as a hostage. We are never shown the logistics of their actual escape, nor is it convincingly explained how they all end up armed to the teeth with pump-action shotguns and powerful automatic handguns. They just do. It's that kind of film.

The soundtrack segues at this point from moody western music to profane gangsta rap. Of course it does. It's that kind of film. Mucho macho posturing ensues and the group dynamic is quickly established; the convicts detest each other, and the prison guard - who loses her shirt somewhere early in the journey - has incredible breasts. Of course she does. It's that kind of... well, I'm sure you get my drift.

The gang are split into two clear stereotypical categories based entirely on cranial follicular characteristics: the longhairs and the baldies. Everyone keeps calling everyone else 'muthafuka' so the characters names are impossible to establish. But they don't need names; they aren't even two-dimensional enough to have been christened.

Mexican cult actor Danny Trejo makes a brief token appearance as an old Apache Indian (no, really). He spins a hoary yarn about a gold medallion the convicts stumbled upon en-route to his shack in the middle of the desert. Then he sings a bit. And laughs a bit - and for no good reason. He manages to convince the convicts to return the medallion to its six counterparts in a mythical Eldorado-like desert town, where they will be rewarded with gold beyond their wildest imaginings. Or something. Then he laughs some more. Manically.

The town, when they find it (remarkably easily, I might add, for a mythical desert town full of fantastic quantities of gold), is like something from an old wild west show, with psycho lawmen, top-heavy whores in ruffled dresses, dim-witted yokels, and grizzled old prospectors with long grey beards who slap their knees and shout 'yee-hah!'

When night falls outside the local saloon, the staff and customers suddenly turn into flesh-eating zombies and try to eat the convicts. The deaths aren't too messy (gougings, ear-bitings, etc); the action is decidedly lacklustre; the whole thing becomes a sort of poor-man's From Dusk Till Dawn, but without the class of George Clooney, the wit of Tarantino or the directorial vision and ingenuity of Robert Rodriguez.

The distinctly under-whelming seven mummies of the title eventually turn up in the final act - a bunch of dead Jesuit priests who act as guardians to the gold and somehow know kung-fu. I kept expecting their bland mummy-masks to slip whenever they demonstrated a tired-looking sidekick. The best thing I can say about this awkward confrontation is that it's mercifully brief.

It all ends in tears. Mine. I cried into my beer and then cheered myself up by re-watching Grim Prairie Tales, if only to remind myself how much fun the oddball mixture of horror and western can be when it's done properly.
7 Mummies

review material
courtesy of
Zone Horror
- the UK's only
dedicated
horror channel.



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