Mummy an’ the Armadillo (2006)

The Armadillo Café is an old run down diner that sits off of old Route 66 out in the middle of the desert. Newer Interstates have rerouted traffic away from the diner, but enough people still stop in for coffee and to look at the roadside oddities the place has collected in order to keep the bills paid.

The film opens as Sarah, a wayward traveler, stops by the café on a dark and stormy night. The café has no power (the thunderstorm has knocked it out) and the place is filled with creepy stuffed animals and weird roadside attractions, but that doesnt stop Sarah from going right in and nosing around. Eventually she is greeted by Billie, a blonde-haired girl who dreams of someday leaving the café but for now apparently runs the joint and is stuck both physically and emotionally in the middle of nowhere.

Throughout the beginning of the film, director/writer J.S. Cardone plays tricks with us. We as viewers are not sure who is creepier, the visitor or the visited. But as the plot unfolds we learn that Billie is actually the least nutty in a family of nutjobs. Her brother Wyatte is a dimwit, her other brother Jesse is a violent drunk, and then theres mom, the hard-drinking and certifiably nutso leader of the kooky clan. Before long Sarah is bound, gagged, threatened at gunpoint and then the real fun begins.

Mummy An the Armadillo isnt as much horror as it is psychological thriller and I use the word thriller loosely. The so-called plot twists are more obvious than a single café along a lone stretch of highway. The film is apparently an adaptation from a play, a fact that is obvious while watching the film as the majority of the film takes place in one room. I thought the acting was good for a small budget feature. While the set decorations are nice, one is constantly reminded this is a low budget production by the fact that the exterior shots of the café are embarrassingly bad.

Like many low budget horror films there are plot holes one could walk a herd of armadillos through. For example, at the end of the first act Sarah (the visitor) and Billie (the café waitress) decide it would be okay if Billie borrows Sarahs car to run some errands around town while Sarah stays and minds the store. Really? And this scene takes place only a few minutes after the local sheriff stops by to let everyone know the roads are flooded so bad that everyone should stay put for the night. This also takes place after Billie learns that Sarah is lying to her about her name and background, so Im not sure which is less believable the customer who is on a road trip loaning her car to a complete stranger who runs a run down café which sits out in the middle of the desert and is filled with dead animals and mummies, or the diner waitress who leaves complete strangers who have been caught in multiple lies in charge of the cash register as she goes off to run around town in the middle of a rain storm.

Mummy An the Armadillo isnt a bad film, but it does misrepresent itself. I probably would have enjoyed it more had I known going into it that it was a psychological thriller instead of the horror slasher film it pretends to be. I dont know that I would go out of my way to see this film, but I wouldnt go out of my way to avoid it either.

Oh, and if youre looking for a mummy movie or an armadillo movie, forget it.

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