Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

September 22, 2013

Movie Review: The University of IIllinois vs. a Mummy (2006)

Was The University of Illinois vs. a Mummy poorly acted? Yes. Are there technical difficulties? Of course. Does it the film scream out ‘student production’? Yes, because it was. But, is the film inspired and funny? A loving homage to the days of reckless college abandon where co-ed coming of age stories are always brought to a head by the supernatural? Hell yes! I loved this movie, despite its flaws! Granted, I have a fondness for Big 10 schools, but that doesn’t matter… The University of Illinois vs. a Mummy is ridiculous, goofy and, above all, honest. It is readily apparent that director Chris Lukeman, along with his cast and crew, are having a great time not only poking fun at genres, but at campus life in the 21st century. 

Buy it HERE!

The storyline is secondary and I don’t think we would have it any other way. I’m usually a stickler for narrative conventions and story parameters, but this works better as a Zanuck-esque parody of horror films and college comedies. The jokes are effective, more or less, especially when they are focusing on the inanity of college life (mysterious parking tickets, office hours jokes, campus protests… nothing is safe). The horror pastiche jokes are fairly well done but suffer a bit from any real experience with the genre (although the mummy being only 75 years old and an angry Michigan fan is priceless). I even love the fact that the freshmen at Illinois are in the middle of a musical as they weave their way through the film. 

In a nutshell, students inadvertently release a 75-year-old mummy that goes on a killing spree of epic proportions. Well, maybe not epic. The film is essentially gore-less. The real genius here is the choice of a mummy as the main antagonist. Even as a kid watching Karloff and Lee lumber across the screen, I could never discern what kind of terror a slow, shambling bag of rags could instill in anyone. Lukeman hits that dead on, here (pun intended) with hilarious sight gags, chases and fight scenes with our dreadful mummy. Cast-wise, the student actors do their best with the material, but it Paul Karpenko as Casey that steals the show. Part slacker and part action hero, Karpenko shows shades of a young Jason Lee.

Yep. The University of Illinois vs. a Mummy rocks. I’m officially on the bandwagon and want to see much more from Mr. Lukeman. To date, he is the only director I know that has had the courage to have his characters, literally, wait a minute. I loved it.

No comments:

Post a Comment