Unearthed: The Curse of Nephthys (2018)

Rating: D-

Dir: Beau Yotty
Star: Amanda Michalek, Beau Yotty, Cat Roberts, Wayne Lundy

I’m just glad I’d watched Desert Wolf before this one, because if I’d started here, I’d probably have ended with it too. The best thing I can find to say about it, is that the images were in focus. Everything else? Well… It begins with a particularly questionable concept, that an ancient Egyptian relic, “definitely from the Predynastic Period,” suddenly shows up, casually leaning against a cactus  on an Arizona ranch (above). The land-owner does ask, to his credit, “How did it get to my ranch?” Student archaeologist Jennifer Hicks (Michalek) says, “If the legend is true, it was brought here in the 1920’s.” She then goes on to explain how her great-grandfather found a chamber beneath the Sphinx and… completely fails to explain how it got to the ranch.

This is a good example of the kind of inept plotting we are dealing with here. Similarly, it opens with a woman watching a horror film, who is then attacked by an intruder. This is just a dream experienced by Don Slayer (Yotty). He’d been a character in several short films, where apparently it was established he experienced premonitions. I only know this through reading another review, and the film doesn’t even mention it until a lot later. When the woman in the dream is eventually attacked; Don comes in, hacks the assailant to death with an axe, and the victim merely says, “Thank you.” Like you do. No further questions, or police activity.

In any case, this Egyptian relic, which looks like it came straight out of the gift shop at the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas, appears to contain the spirits of Egyptian deity Nephthys (Roberts) and her hand-maidens. Turns out Jennifer’s blood, being a descendant of the man who opened Nephthys’s shrine, is needed to complete her transformation. Or resurrection. Or something. Jennifer gets knocked out next to the artifact, which is stolen by Gary Newsome (Lundy), a dealer in antiquities. Don somehow immediately knows Gary is in possession of it – must have been one of those plot armour visions again.

But this kind of convenient nonsense is very much par for the story, e.g. Jennifer also finds a trunk that apparently belonged to her great-grandfather and contains his journal. Or that the moon of [/checks notes] the Wep-RenPet, the only time the sacrifice can bring Nephthys back, just happens to be tomorrow night. Or that the great-grandfather discovered a way to close the portal. Which – what are the odds! – just happens to be detailed in the journal. You’ll understand that my eyes were rolling like a set of craps dice. Probably at the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas.

Thereafter, it somehow manages to fall apart further. The film is filled with random shots, like multiple ones of a strip-mall under construction, or footage recorded at the side of an Arizona highway. Meanwhile a lot of scenes – in particular, most of the conversations – are edited together in a way which has absolutely no rhythm or pacing. Other ones simply make no sense, such as why Jennifer goes to visit Gary’s shop (which, incidentally, looks like a classroom in a community college), knowing she’s the key to the sacrifice.

Which, incidentally, despite all the chat about the moon of Wep-RenPet, takes place in broad daylight. Maybe prophecies operate on Egyptian time? And, no, just turning the brightness down on your camera doesn’t help, when the shadows are clearly of the mid-afternoon sun variety. Other highlights include the apparent third-place participant of the 2018 Ron Jeremy lookalike contest. I gave up taking notes for the final twenty minutes, except for one fractionally cool moment where Don’s hand, holding the Dagger of Osiris (don’t ask…), bursts through the portal. Otherwise, I just wallowed in the incoherent majesty of it all.