If ever there was a film to leave one on the fence, it’s Damien Leone’s monster mashup,Frankenstein vs. The Mummy. It’s a picture that gets a lot of thing really right. It’s also a picture that fumbles the ball on multiple occasions, leaving viewers left to scramble to pick them up. For every high point there’s an awkward low to match, and that’s the kind of situation that does more to confuse the home audience than win them over. Will the pic work for insane diehards of Frankenstein, or The Mummy? Probably. Will it fulfill the desires of those who just want to watch a technically sound, completely enjoyable film featuring two cinematic icons? Probably not.
As you already know Dr. Victor Frankenstein is a lunatic with a goal of reanimating dead tissue. In this format the doc is a young professor of philosophy, a trade which he applies to his side gig of piecing together a “new man”. Naihla Khalil, on the other hand, is a perfectly sane professor with no desires to resurrect the deceased, but a fascination with the mummy that she and her university brought back from an extended expedition. When Khalil and Frankenstein get together sparks fly. Until poor Naihla discovers her new boyfriend’s secret practice. That’s when all hell begins to break loose, as the attractive professor just can’t jive with Frankenstein’s strange obsession. But all of that becomes irrelevant when Victor succeeds in reanimating the corpse, and a series of strange events leads to the resurrection of Naihla’s mummy buddy. Both monsters eventually meet face to face, where a battle for evil supremacy unfolds.
To be completely honest, that sounds like a good setup. And a lot of the script decisions really work. The fact that Frankenstein and Khalil both work at the same school is a smart idea and adds plausibility to the entire story. The introduction of the mummy and the monster are also well-played moves. The seedy dealings that unfold over the course of the picture feel authentic. The third act of the picture offers up quite a few stomach turning scenes, as the practical effects are graphic and well executed. Even the mummy looks pretty damn cool. Sadly, that’s where the complimentary note end
The problems with Frankenstein vs. The Mummy are just as numerous and often more glaring than subtle. Max Rhyser, who plays Dr. Victor Frankenstein is terribly miscast. He never once feels like the madman we expect him to be. He also looks extremely young to be an accomplished professor. He fails at delivering the kind of passion commonly associated with the delusional doctor. The monster itself doesn’t work, either. There’s promise in the design, but the look of his face is comical (until actor Constantin Tripes really begins working his facial expressions, which are admittedly menacing) and light years from frightening. There are an assortment of scenes that feel entirely unnecessary (after a single date, Victor stands Naihla up because he’s working on his monster, but when the two meet again she’s prepared to drop him like a man who’s been having a longtime affair while he’s pleading to be taken back by what we’d swear is the greatest love of his life; it feels ludicrous) and the dialogue is, at times, absurdly bad. But the real nail is the actual showdown between the mummy and the monster. With a title like Frankenstein vs. The Mummy, we expect a legendary war to unfold between these two. They don’t even come face to face until 105 minutes of the 116 minute runtime has passed. Keep in mind, a few of those minutes are reserved for credits. Let that sink in. This isn’t a battle, it’s a glimpse of a tussle. Frankenstein vs. The Mummy… I think that’s a little bit of false advertising there.
All in all, the picture lacks the overall refinement to qualify as a genuinely good film. But it has its moments. Had we seen a handful of filler sequences cut, had the dialogue been tightened up and the “big confrontation” between the titular characters been longer and more rewarding, this may have been a legitimately impressive indie effort. There are enough good things going on here to pull viewers in. It’s all the other nonsense that nearly guarantees you won’t want to stay put for the duration of the film. However, if you do opt to sit through the film in its entirety, don’t hold your breath hoping for a clash of titans. You’re not going to get it.
All in all, the picture lacks the overall refinement to qualify as a genuinely good film. But it has its moments. Had we seen a handful of filler sequences cut, had the dialogue been tightened up and the "big confrontation" between the titular characters been longer and more rewarding, this may have been a legitimately impressive indie effort.