You know, I don't think I've ever watched a french horror film before this evening. I'm not even sure why I picked this film, exactly, except that I had chosen another film first and decided against it. This one caught my eye. I did want to watch something I had not seen before, and this one was definitely new to me.
Balphegor: Phantom of the Louvre (2001) is french. Sophie Marceau, Julie Christie and probably some french guys star in it. Over here, our horror flicks star unknown actors trying to get a break in Hollywood. Over there, they take good actors and put them in horror films. Quite frankly, I think they have a good idea, because the acting is much better when you're casting a seasoned professional. Much like Lake Placid, with Betty White, Bill Pullman and Bridget Fonda (who I just found out retired about ten years ago, such a shame).
Balphegor: Phantom of the Louvre starts out a little strange. I don't know if it was just a weird French way of introducing the background story or sort of an homage to the Mummy flicks of the past, but there's a sort of montage and snippets of film from an archaeological dig back in the 30's, and then a short montage of scenes of the French museum called the Louvre when it was being rebuilt (whenever they did that, since I have no idea, being an uncultured knob). Then we get into the meat of the story. Basically, a mummy is discovered that contains a demon. The demon is apparently awakened by light shining into its eye sockets, and then it wanders around the Louvre causing havoc until it finds a suitable host. And, well, I don't need to tell horror fans what happens when a demon finds a host, do I? Yea. I didn't think so.
I liked this movie. It was unusual, the acting was good, the special effects were decent, and the plot was coherent. Could have done with a lot more nudity (there was a tiny smidge) and a more demonic demon, but other than that I can't really find any issues with it. After the movie was over, I looked up the name of the demon to try and figure out if it was Egyptian, since the mummy was Egyptian, but it was apparently not. Balphegor, according to the wiki (and I'm not sure how accurate those things are) was a demon prince embodying the sin of Sloth and lured men into sin by promising them wealth through invention and discovery. Funny thing, the demon was supposedly Hell's ambassador to France, and this movie is french, so I found that an amusing coincidence.
So what you have here is your basic horror movie about a demon coming back to life and infesting the living, with a few weird twists. It's a French film, so the language is french and the subtitles on Netflix (where I watched this) were in English, and it's a movie about an Egyptian mummy possessed by an Assyrian demon in modern-day France. If that doesn't induce culture shock in you just from the juxtaposition of mythologies, you can probably just sit back and enjoy the film. Which I did. Also, there are some great shots of the actual Louvre, I think. So if you've never been there, here's your chance to see what it looks like.
I think I would almost certainly watch this again. If only for Sophie Marceau. But I'm sickly tonight so this review is going to be damn short. Not sure what I have, but I ache like I got run over by a truck.
And my balls are saggy, but I think that's just from old age. Til tomorrow night, then!