Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

About two weeks ago I saw this movie called ‘The Tomb’ and as I tend to do I put a note on my desk to remind myself to scribble down something I can pass off as a review off this movie, otherwise I will forget. Getting old is no fun my friends. Yesterday while ruffling through some movies I see this title called ‘The Tomb’. I think to myself that this movie looks interesting and I put it in. A good fifteen minutes passed before I realized that I seen this already. Clearly I ignored my little note. But this just illustrates the kind of movie that ‘The Tomb’ turned out to be, which is forgettable to a fault.

Wes Bentley plays the character of Jonathan and Johnny over here has a pretty good life. He’s rich by birth, he’s a successful author, he is a successful college professor and he is engaged to the lovely and talented Rowena (Kaitlin Doubleday) who has sex with him on a regular basis. One day while giving a lecture on something or another… I forget… actually I have forgotten an awful lot about this movie which probably means I have forfeited my right to review it but yet I soldier on. Anyway, while giving this lecture Jonathan spots the pretty girl in the front row. Len (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) informs Jonathan who this girl is and what function she serves at the school, conveniently leaving out the part that he’s totally tagging on that. Jonathan is intrigued by this young lady with the name Ligeia (Sofya Skya), mainly because she’s pretty damn hot. She’s pretty damn weird too. Truth be told with her constantly dressing in black and speaking in riddles, the weirdness kinds of overrides the hotness, but as we will learn Ligeia has super powers.

It’s not long before Jonathan forgets about his loyal girlfriend and is doing some nasty things with Ligeia, but it’s not like he has a choice in the matter. Ligeia has all kinds of mystical black magical powers, one of these being mind control but the one power she is really trying to kick start is the power of soul stealing. Ligeia has found a way to steal your soul and stick it in a bottle. And she’s with Jonathan because he has the means to fund this research, research Ligeia needs to complete in order to stop her physical deterioration. I think. Again I can’t completely remember but it’s something like that.

Regardless, they end up in back in Ligea’s home of Russia where the strange lady has Jonathan buy back her old gothic mansion and the black magic lab associated with it, the house being taken care of by Vaslov (Eric Roberts) and his young niece. Alas Ligeia is getting weak and her hold over Jonathan is losing its grip which has made him reexamine his love for the one he left behind, who is as luck would have it, is in Russia doing a concert. How lucky.

A lot of stuff happens like Ligeia dying only to come back and possess everybody and kill who ever she doesn’t possess. And Michael Madsen is in this movie. He seems to be sleepy. The filmmakers made his character a drunk to adapt to this. Outstanding.

There are a few minor crimes that this movie ‘The Tomb’ has created against humanity. For starters I don’t remember seeing any tombs in this movie. Originally titled ‘Ligeia’ which does make some sense since that’s the name of the Poe short story that this film is loosely based off of, but I guess it doesn’t roll off the tongue like ‘The Tomb’. Another crime is that ‘The Tomb’ is boring. It’s dull. It looks nice and all but there is a deadening, dull, lifeless feel cursing throughout this film that it was never able to shake. Of course it is possible the dull lifeless feel was a dramatic correlation to the character of Ligeia but the truth of the matter is that she was probably the liveliest character in this movie. Another issue that this movie has the unique ability to be overly complex while at the same time banally simple. I can’t begin to tell you the alchemy behind the whole soul stealing process, though I’m sure it was explained to us, but I do know that Ligeia was bad because every time she walked into the room, dressed in black with her jet black hair, it was gloomy. As opposed to the blonde Rowena who had the sun shining on her fair skin everywhere she walked. She’s a good girl. Until she gets possessed then everything turns black. What are you people trying to say to me?

But this is a movie with Michael Madsen, Eric Roberts, Cary Hiroyuki Hagawa and Christa Campbell, which highlights yet another minor crime that director Michael Staininger has committed in his total waste of a glorious B-list cast of all-stars he was given to work with. Sure they looked bored half to death in this movie, but Madsen was a drunk, Tagawa was in a coma, Campbell was stuck looking at the dude in the coma and E-Rob was trapped trying to pretend to be Russian so we can kind of excuse their lack of excitement. Wes Bentley on the other hand had no excuse to look bored. This was his movie, but Tagawa in a coma seemed more engaged to be in this movie than Mr. Bentley.

But take it all with a grain of salt because I’ve forgotten most of it and my recollections are not to be trusted. Just being fair for the sake of disclosure, but what I do remember, I don’t remember enjoying all that much.

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