This review contains spoilers.
Ah, Mutants, answering my call for yet another clichéd and unoriginal zombie film. Glad you could make it. What, you’re French? Well, why didn’t you say so?! That makes all the difference.
Yes, that is the one of the only different things about Mutants, as almost everything else you will have seen. Especially if you’ve watched 28 Days Later, from which Mutants cribs cinematography (especially a way too heavy reliance of shaky-cam), music cues and fast moving infected zombies. It’s almost as if the filmmakers couldn’t be bothered to wait until the next sequel and decided to do their own version. Their own formulaic and increasingly rubbish as it progresses version.
It doesn’t start too badly, though, as an escaping woman is mown down in explosive fashion by a speeding ambulance. Onboard are medics Sonia and Marco, together with a female soldier and a patient who doesn’t look too good (like he might be a mutant…).
Female soldier doesn’t like this, so promptly pulls her gun out and shoots the zombifying man. She then tells our heroic medical pair to trust her, and that they’ll soon reach the mysterious NOAH base, which promises to be the salvation to all their problems, (of course).
However, a brief stop at a petrol station soon turns sour as they meet a potential zombie, and while Sonia wants to help the man, the soldier doesn’t. The outcome leads to one dead soldier (a pity, as she promised to be an interesting character) and one bitten Marco.
Hightailing it to a nearby complex (which I had no idea what it was. I initially assumed it to be a hospital, but the subtitles mysteriously refer to it as ‘a big building’), Sonia makes a desperate radio call to NOAH, which is answered in a garbled manner. She then sets about caring for Marco as he steadily deteriorates thanks to the infection in a section of the film which is actually the most interesting, as the plague slowly takes hold over days rather than hours.
Facing the common problems of human-zombie relationships (he tries to eat her occasionally, and leaves blood absolutely everywhere), Mutants actually poses some difficult questions about euthanasia. Marco begs Sonia to kill him but she refuses, instead attempting to help him, as she herself is immune so believes there must be a cure. She is also carrying his child and clearly loves him, and so is trapped by this.
Could you really kill someone you truly loved, no matter how bad things got (a question my girlfriend answered by saying she’d definitely kill me to save herself, and that, in her defence, “I probably wouldn’t like being a zombie,” so would be doing me a favour).
However, Marco doesn’t look too long for this world, as first his hair, then his teeth fall out (his teeth? His teeth?! But how the hell can the zombies pass on the infection, which had previously been shown to be transmitted through bites?).
Sonia appears to finally bow to the inevitable and kill him, but then changes her mind and locks him in the basement. Which is a bit mean.
Then enter Frank. Frank is the leader of the local band of evil survivors, and demonstrates his evilness by ordering a coffee with, not one, but two sugars. Yes, he is that unimposing. He and his gang (his girlfriend and a couple of henchmen) then menace/help (delete as appropriate) Sonia for a while before the zombies gang up and attack the ‘big building’.
Then the film ends, exactly as I, and most likely you, would have predicted. (The zombies eat the baddies, Sonia and Marco have a fight in which Marco pauses from killing her in a last compassionate act, NOAH show up and fly off with her, but she may be carrying a zombie baby! Of course.)
In defence of Mutants, it does start promisingly and has some nifty digitally shot camera work, and its depictions of Marco’s slow descent into the zombie abyss invoke Cronenberg’s The Fly, and in a good way too.
However, the film is often too unoriginal in a depressing way and no amount of subtext about the choices we face between life and death can make up for an uninspired story and an extremely dull third act.
A trailer. Pah.
Mutants will be released on May 10 and can be pre-ordered from the Den Of Geek Store.