Saturday, March 27, 2010

On-Demand: Another Zombie Movie? Yup -- MUTANTS from France via David Morlet

Is it time to call a moratorium on movies featuring any virus that turns its host into a blood-sucking, organ-eating lunatic? I say yes, and I say that on the basis of a seemingly never-ending flow of Zombie movies, the latest of which is MUTANTS, a (relatively) new On-Demand offering purporting to give us something unusual. But, really: other than the setting (here it's an abandoned hospital somewhere in the snowy mountains of France) and the time it takes the virus to go into action, what is really different or even interesting about most of these films?  Not much. They're exist for their guts 'n gore but little more.

Directed and co-written (with Louis-Paul Desanges) by David Morlet, shown at right, Mutants is his first full-length film and in some ways it is impressive.  Initially, it appears a fast-paced, small-cast action/suspense film with -- yet again --  a virus turning all humanity into zombies.  In recent films such as REC (and its American remake Quarantine) or 28 Weeks Later, viral reaction time is fast (in the latter film, so are the zombies), but Mutants takes it slow and easy, giving us time to get to acquainted with our hero and heroine, as well as with a few interlopers who pop up to keep the movie going (plot is not its strong suit). Unfortunately, despite decent acting from the leads, there ain't much here to know.

Some excellent cadaver prosthetics grace the proceedings -- yuuuch! -- and that French actress with the beauty mark Hélène de Fougerolles (above, right) carries much of the performing duties on her slim shoulders as a medical worker. In the role of her boyfriend and co-worker, Francis Renaud (above, left -- who was so good in the still-awaiting-US-theatrical-release Queen to Play) is virile and hunky but is not given the opportunity to do much else (and it must be awfully difficult to "act" under plastic prosthetics).

Far too much dialog is of the "You're going to be OK!" variety (this pops up soon after we know that the character certainly will not be).  "Kill me," he says.  She won't.  Knowing some medicine, she tries various modes of cure, but mostly these are just vamping until the inevitable arrives.  Since, having seen so many zombie movies, we already know all this, the going does get grueling.  And the cinematography, which favors the usual drained-of-most-color palette shown in the stills above and below, quickly begins to bore.

Midway, we get a jolt of fresh interest but almost immediately suspension of disbe-
lief is demanded on a level that is too stupid by half.  At film's end, it's clear that there is nothing new here; Mutants is just anot-
her tiresome zombie movie that is also, given its genre and thin plot, at least 15 minutes too long.

Available from IFC Films as part of its Festival Direct On-Demand series, Mutants is playing via most TV reception-providers' On-Demand services.  Click the link ahead to see if your provider offers IFC On-Demand, and if so, how to connect....

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