I remember watching this movie back in the early aughts along with another stylish French mystery, Vidocq. I loved the setting and distinctive visual style of both of these movies but only one of them had Sophie Marceau. Belphegor Phantom of the Louvre follows Lisa, a beautiful young woman who suffers a horrific accident that changes her life completely. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but let’s just say that mummies are involved and leave it at that. And you know me, I’m a sucker when it comes to Egypt. Back then I was riding high on a wave created by The Mummy so this movie was a logical choice.
Belphegor Phantom of the Louvre is the first movie that was actually shot inside Louvre. This gives it a certain atmosphere that you won’t get with other movies. Combine this with special effects that stood the test of time and you got yourself a sleek time-killer. There will be a couple of graphic scenes and a bit of nudity but nothing major. The movie is actually based on a 1927 Arthur Bernède horror novel Belphégor. And it’s not the first adaptation of this once very popular novel. Those who were expecting anything other than the safe and commercial rendering of the story will be disappointed.
I think they didn’t know where they were going with this one. It’s such a strange mixture of romance, mystery, science fiction, and horror that I don’t know what to make of it. At least it’s easy on the eyes. And it certainly deservers a higher rating than 4.4 on IMDb. Yes, you read it right, this movie has the same rating as all those godawful horror movies you see on tv all the time. And I don’t know why. Perhaps fans of the original show didn’t like the direction.
In Louvre, Paris, an ancient sarcophagus is about to be opened for the first time. As scientists are carefully studying the mummy they found inside and the sarcophagus itself, something strange happens. Something that unleashes an entity that has been dormant for many centuries. At last, the demon Belphegor is free to roam the Earth. And he sets his eyes on Lisa, a beautiful young girl living in the vicinity of the museum.
I know that seeing that cool CGI Belphegor isn’t much now, but it was back in 2001. When I saw the trailer for this movie, my jaw just dropped. I mean, it had Egyptian artifacts, Sophie, and cool CGI, what more could you want from a movie? Granted, all of this still didn’t create an engaging atmosphere but who cares about that with scenes this sleek?
If I had to compare Belphegor Phantom of the Louvre to an American movie, my choice would Relic. I know that the story is a bit different but the setting and the atmosphere are quite similar. Apart from beautiful Sophie Marceau, we will also have the opportunity to see Frédéric Diefenthal (Taxi) and Julie Christie (Doctor Zhivago) in this movie. Finally, if you’re looking for another French movie with a similar vibe, I recommend The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec. It’s much better than this one.
Director: Jean-Paul Salomé
Writers: Arthur Bernède, Jean-Paul Salomé, Danièle Thompson
Cast: Sophie Marceau, Michel Serrault, Frédéric Diefenthal, Julie Christie, Jean-François Balmer
Fun Stuff: This is the third dramatized adaptation, following the first film in 1927, and a TV miniseries in 1965.