Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review: Mutants

There's nothing like a good zombie flick to bring you closer together with your special someone the night before Valentine's Day, so my wife and I settled onto the couch to watch the French zombie film Mutants. Conveniently it comes with English subtitles.

More and more I'm finding foreign horror films to be just so much better than their American-made counterparts and Mutants did not disappoint. For three quarters or so of the movie, anyway.

We start off in a winter scene where a woman watches as her companion is attacked by zombies before she flees through the woods. She makes it to the roadway where she's met by an ambulance on its way to take a wounded soldier for help. It quickly becomes apparent the soldier is about to "turn" and he's dragged out of the back so his partner -- a woman with the manliest voice I ever heard (actually, my wife and I were debating whether the soldier was a man or woman for a good 5 minutes before the subtitles told us the answer) -- shot him dead.

In need of gas, the ambulance stops at a roadside station and the suspense begins to build. In the end, the ambulance driver, a character named Sonia Duprey (no, that's not why I liked the movie) and her husband/boyfriend Marco make it to this big-ass building in the mountains. Inside it looks something like a hospital but it could be a hotel (some of the outside shots seem to show what look like balconies, but it's got a heckuva lot of medical supplies on hand) where it's revealed Marco has been bitten.

There's a lot of good suspense as you can hear the zombies howl in the wild and the tension builds as Marco pleads to be killed while Sonia wants to save him. After locking him away for his and her own good, the movie falls apart a little.

There's another band or survivors that breaks into the hospital/hotel/refuge and some typical post-apocalyptic characters emerge: the domineering guy who or some reason doesn't think they'll be better off if they help each other to survive; the fawning girlfriend who finds a need to go down on him in the middle of it all; the "crazy" loner; etc.

I found the ending a little predictable, even if it was a little hard to follow the plot development at one point. I'm thinking something got left on the editing room floor that might have explained things a little better. Regardless, considering much of the dreck that's out there these days from American directors, I thought Mutants was a worthwhile effort. Even having to read the subtitles wasn't a distraction from watching the movie.

I'd give it 3 tombstones out of 5.



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