Mutants (UK - DVD R2)
Our Marcus watches as the zombie movie epidemic spreads to France...
Hitting the ground running, Mutants lands us slap bang in the middle of an outbreak of an infection that’s turning humans into wild killers. Within the first ten minutes we see the effects of the infection, the attitude that’s needed to survive, and pretty much all of our primary characters have killed each other leaving Sonia (Hélène de Fougerolles) and Marco (Francis Renaud) alone in an abandoned hospital.
Now, with the discovery that Marco is infected, it’s only a matter of time...
With worldwide zombie-like infections now common place in our movie universe, Mutants manages to get straight to the point very quickly and in about fifteen minutes manages to gets over what usually takes ninety in a standard zombie flick. What follows is something relatively new to the genre and strangely it’s quite heartfelt.
Rather than going through the usual hoops of an infected character a) killing themselves, b)forcing the only other character to kill them or c) being locked away and having the only other survivor watch as the infected transforms, Mutants goes for a slightly new approach and has medic Sonia actually try to care for the infected Marco. How this is depicted is actually quite unsettling as the infection is shown as a disease and that disease is slow, painful and it’s destroying Marco’s mind and body.
There’s a real tenderness to Sonia’s care for Marco and in moments where the usual movie heroine would run or an audience would wince with such scenes as Marco puking up blood, or having psychotic episodes, we see our infected Marco treated as a doctor would treat a patient. There’s no ‘yuck’ reaction from Sonia, she’s straight in there with a tight embrace or a kiss on the forehead, whether Marco is growling, covering in blood or screaming for more morphine.
Of course, this doesn’t last. As soon as Marco starts craving the taste of blood or brains or whatever it is the infected crave here, Mutants begins its steady descent into more tried and tested grounds. Introducing post-apocalyptic men with guns, getting a distress signal out, and of course the inevitable zombie attack.
It’s not that these events ruin the movie for me, for the most part they are handled as well as we’ve come to expect from rampaging living dead cinematic adventures, but somewhere along the line, the fresh new angle that Mutants proposed gives way to what the audience expects and for me, it just wasn’t as strong as the Sonia and Marco dynamic that had me gripped.
The Mutants transfer is relatively bland. Set in an old hospital with a snowy backdrop, it’s hard to avoid the cold palette of whites, greys and bleak greens. All of this adds a mood to proceedings but the transfer doesn’t really do much to show it off.
The standard definition transfer does its best and offers a pretty clean image and some of the shots in the woods look great, but nothing really pops. Colours are barely used, with blood generally thick and black as opposed to red and other than some deep black interior scenes, everything winds up looking a little samey throughout. It’s not a bad transfer; it’s just not really one that does anything noticeably special.
To go with the bland video comes a pretty bland Dolby Digital track. It has its moments, with the odd zombified screech from the woods or loud bang but once again Mutants trundles along with its hospital echo dialogue and little else beside the ominous score.
The last act beefs it up a little and when the score turns into an electronic heartbeat it adds a lot of tension but once again this all goes by relatively unnoticed.
The only extra on offer is the trailer.
The disc does a solid (if not slightly bland) job in both audio and video departments but the movie itself has a glimmer of originality for a while there, offering up a slightly more human spin on how lives would be affected by a devastating infection.
Beyond that interesting middle thirty minutes or so, Mutants does everything we’ve come to expect before struggling to add some poignancy to its closing scenes. Fans of the zombie/post apocalyptic/infection genre should certainly give a whirl but those who are beginning to feel that they've seen all this before won't come away feeling much different.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 10th May 2010
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 French
Easter Egg: No
Director: David Morlet
Cast: Hélène de Fougerolles, Francis Renaud, Dida Diafat
Genre: Drama and Horror
Length: 85 minutes
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