"Between 'Bellamy' And 'Ben-Hur'" ~ A Dictionary Of Demons
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 10/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Synopsis: An Egyptain sarcopacus is found hidden away in the back of a large storage room at the Louvre. As the resident experts begin their examination of the remains within strange events begin to plague the museum and the surrounding neighborhood. Frequent electrical shortages soon escalate into more serious occurances such as the disappearance of ancient Egyptain artifacts and the deaths of several museum employees while stories of a Phantom stalking the premises at night abound.
Meanwhile across the street from the legendary landmark a beautiful young woman named Lisa (Sophie Marceau) begins to hear strange voices and hallucinate. Are the two events connected and if so what does any of this have to do with the unidentified corpse within the sacophacus?
Critique: Released in '01 'Belphegor' is a moderately entertaining film offering surprisingly quirky and original dialogue, above average special effects and some nice atmospheric sequences of the mysterious Phantom cloaked in black gliding around the musuem. Add to the mix the charming Sophie Marceau who is always a plus to any film and you have the makings of a pretty enjoyable evening. On the negative side, the movie is a little overlong and there are some uneven spots that make it difficult to maintain your undivided interest.
My Rating: -3 1/2 Stars-."
Not scary, but not meant to be...
Christopher Thomas Rennirt | Louisville, KY USA | 01/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In numerous other reviews, both professional and otherwise, I've read about this movie not really being "scary" as some think it should be. The fact is, like it or not, that this movie is not meant to be scary in any serious way. It reminds me of another in the vein of the more recent Mummy films Hollywood has pumped out--those with more than the usual amount of CGI effects and more humorous than scary. Even the dialogue and other situations rather quickly give this movie an intentional and rather comedic tone, as well. Very often opportunities to heighten potential scare are purposely undercut by a humorous situation occuring simultaneoulsy. (i.e. the bedroom scene with the inspector and the curator coinciding with the appearance of the phantom elsewhere in the museum). Yes, too many people, I think, critique this movie on what they want it to be, rather than what it is and what it is meant to be. If you take it for what it is, it's really a pretty entertaining and well-acted movie, with a sizeable amount of effective humor, and, oh yes, a mummy/phantom, as well.
Speaking of acting, that is one of the things which keeps this movie together, depsite whatever else. The acting by all main characters (specifically the beautiful Sophie Marceau) is top-notch and better than what one typically sees in such films. The excellent soundtrack also keeps the movie from being less than it would be otherwise. The soundtrack is very Egyptian, with a hint of foreboding doom about it. That keeps the viewer from getting too convinced that the phantom is less than dangerous. It also keeps reminding the viewer, very subtley and subconsciously, that the movie really is a horror movie after all.
Others have criticized the phantom in this movie for moving too much like a human and not like a phantom. Some have said that such movement for a phantom is "ridiculous" and a sign of a low budget. Well, let's not forget that this is a human being used by a phantom to accomplish its mission on earth. So, on the basis of that fact alone (the rules which the movie creates for itself), let's not expect more than we should--or more than is realistic under the circumstances. To the contrary, I would actually consider it "ridiculous" to have a human, as it is, moving like a phantom.
All in all, I enjoyed this movie quite well. I don't necessarily recommend it to anyone, only because I know that some will still be compelled to judge it on the basis of how "scary" it is. Again, if you do that, then you're certainly asking for disappointment. On the other hand, if you you watch it with an ability to see and enjoy the humor, then I think you'll be pleased."
Sophie Marceau and Julie Christie in French Mummy Flick: No
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/08/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Beautiful Sophie Marceau stars in "Belphégor - Le fantôme du Louvre" ("Ghost of the Louvre"), a French occult thriller made in 2001. Though the film itself looks like a rip-off of Brendan Fraser's `the Mummy' (or its sequel), the story of Belphégor has a along history, which novelist Arthur Bernède created more than 70 years ago. There are silent film based on the character hiding in the Louvre in the 1920s, and TV mini-series in the 60s. (I haven't seen them, though. Anyway that's what I read on the net.)
This is a kind of film of which title tells you everything about its story. Yes, it is about Belphégor, the golden-colored CGI-created Ghost of the Louvre, terrifying the people working at the museum. And Sophie Marceau's heroine, who is living in a room across the street from the museum, strays into the place at night (in the most unbelievable way) where the sinister ghost roams. As the number of unaccountable deaths increases, Marceau starts to act more and more strangely, like scaring the kids showing off her erudition about Egypt, or leaping from wall to wall in a small room like a frog.
I am not kidding when I write jumping. Whatever the originals might have been, they could not be as awful as this new version is. The lack of direction is painfully obvious from the beginning, in which the film gives away its secret too early. There is no scare because every camera work is predictable, and the climax is no climax (you might not realize what really happened in the end.) In short, the film is an uninspired thriller.
Some people say, with good reasons, that the CGI mummy is impressive. Certainly, the special effects of the mummy gliding in the air are good itself, but the real question is how to use them. The image of Belphégor reminds me of the ghost in `The Haunting' (the remake, not Robert Wise original), in which expensive CGI deprived the film of any scares. While we should be scared, we are keenly aware that what we are watching is costly effects, not the ghost.
In spite of the ineffective direction, "Belphégor" is sometimes mildly entertaining for two reasons. One is that it is partly shot in the real Louvre, and beauty of the place and the city of Paris is undeniable. The other is Sophie Marceau herself. Even in this messy script she is beautiful, and that is something.
The film has interesting supports including veteran Michel Serrault, Frédéric Diefenthal, and Julie Christie. Yes, that's her in `Darling.' And there is a cameo of Juliette Gréco (from the original TV series) as the woman in the graveyard.
Critics attacked Hollywood blockbuster `The Mummy' for many reasons - CGI extravaganza or anything -- but even they would admit that they are entertaining films. "Belphégor" is not even that. It is not even a so-bad-so good film, just about Marceau and a dull mummy."