The Tomb or Ligeia as it was formerly called, will make you think you’re watching a goth play. Yes, the actors wear dark clothes, the setting is of a castle and there are spells and magic involved. But the reason why it looks like a play is because every turning point doesn’t seamlessly fit into the story.
You can very well point out that Act One is when the writer breaks up with his girlfriend and marries Ligeia. Act Two is when Ligeia falls ill and her magical hold on her husband begins to weaken. She kills herself and that is the end of Part Two. Act Three is when Ligeia tries to create problems with her ex-husband and his new wife while possessing the caretaker’s quiet little daughter.
Maybe, just maybe, the story would have suited in a theatre than in a movie format because the proceedings get dull and the connection is lost when the storyline unravels to include situations that just don’t make sense.
Side characters keep coming and going so quickly that before their connection to the leads is established, you’ve already become bored of them. The story is supposed to focus on Ligeia and her quest to become immortal but somehow it becomes about her obsession with the writer and making sure he lives a miserable life with or without her.
The movie begins with a hasty prologue. A young girl is riding a horse, looking down the cliffs. The next instant she is seated beside her dying mother and when she passes away, her soul visibly leaves her body. Ligeia is fascinated by this and for some reason, spends years trying to snatch everyone’s soul and keep it in glass jars.
The start of Act One introduces the writer and his girlfriend. He apparently gives lectures in college as well and notices one student who has followed him in his tour. At first, he thinks her to be a fan but is smitten by her immediately. Her name is Ligeia and she already has designs on him.
She does whatever it takes to create a rift in the writer’s relationship with his girlfriend Rowena and succeeds. Somewhere in all of this, we find there is a man helping Ligeia as well and that the Chancellor was somewhat having an affair with Ligeia and allowing her to conduct experiments in his college. He is killed when he forbids her the use of his rooms.
Instead of going to the hospital to check on his friend, the writer, Jonathan, is enticed by Ligeia. Rowena finds them together the next day, doesn’t wait for an explanation from his dazed boyfriend and breaks up with him. The next instant, Jonathan and Ligeia’s marriage is reported in the newspaper.
Things after marriage don’t go well for the couple and as Ligeia has stopped killing, she keeps getting sick. Jonathan remembers his love for Rowena, goes to see her backstage after one of her shows and before they can reconcile, Ligeia performs her magic atop a cliff.
Jonathan is also having visions of Ligeia dying and sees her tomb. Upon the caretaker’s question regarding his experiments downstairs, Jonathan finally decides to check out his new home and finds the trapped souls. He frees the Chancellor’s, confronts Ligeia and is on his way out when she jumps from the tower.
His visions have come true. Ligeia dies, the tomb is constructed with her name on it and he finds solace in the arms of Rowena who is desperate to take him back. They also decide to take the caretaker’s daughter with them.
Of course, Ligeia isn’t going to rest in peace. She lures the caretaker’s daughter, gets to Rowena and possesses her. Jonathan soon realizes his wife is behaving a lot like Ligeia and confronts her.
By this time Ligeia has already killed the caretaker and Rowena’s father. Jonathan manages to defeat her and bring Rowena back but like any cliched movie, getting rid of the villain is never easy.
Ligeia possesses the caretaker’s daughter and we are left feeling underwhelmed.
Given the story, the setting and the actors, you would actually believe you were going to watch a great movie. Yes, it is different and unlike the usual horror movies. But the biggest flaw that couldn’t be overcome was that not a single scene stands out, whether visually or dramatically.
Not enough suspense is built and despite the aptitude of the actors, they are unable to save a movie that suffers from really dull and slow proceedings. You can check your messages, your emails, tweet about your day, catch up on your chores, and you still wouldn’t have missed anything.
The movie simply doesn’t hold your attention or interest.
Scare scale: 1/5