Now available on VOD
Helene de Fougerolles as Sonia
Francis Renaud as Marco
Dida Diafat as Virgile
Marie-Sohna Conde as Perez
Nicolas Briancon as Franck
Directed by David Morley
Tell me if this sounds familiar. A deadly virus has decimated the world’s population. A small, random group of people struggles for survival. All around them lurk zombies, er, mutants, who want to find and devour them. Can the ragtag bunch work together and live to see another day?
French horror has received much praise in recent years, and for the most part, it has deserved it. However, as Mutants so adequately demonstrates, the country is also capable of delivering derivative junk as well as their American counterparts are. Why this clichÃ©d bore has gotten a pass from so many is a mystery. Apparently a copious amount of blood is enough for some.
It begins with a brief message letting us know that a virus has destroyed most of Earth’s inhabitants. Cut to a girl frantically running through the woods. She stops suddenly in the middle of a desolate road. Guess what happens to her?
The main action concerns a trio made up of two medical personnel and a member of the military as they attempt to reach a NOAH base, which they presume is safe. After a violent incident at a gas station, our heroes find themselves trapped in a huge abandoned building in what appears to be the middle of nowhere.
Of course, one person has been infected. We all know where this leads for their loved one. And this is where Mutants goes from passable to extremely dull. The first 20 minutes or so, while hardly original, are fast-paced and lively. The bullets, blood, and guts fly with reckless abandon and at least it isn’t boring. But after the action shifts to the abandoned building, and one character desperately tries to save the other from turning (naturally they vomit blood and convulse), it screeches to a halt. For an extended period of time there is lots of talking and arguing and standing around as they hope for a helicopter rescue. There are trust problems and cries to “stop me from turning.”
This deadly slow pace remains for the duration. There are moments of bloodshed scattered here and there as inevitably hordes of mutants attack, but even the gore is soaked in clichÃ©s. We have seen messy gunshots and neck biting a thousand times or more in movies like this by now.
What’s most disappointing about Mutants is the fact that it is very well-made. It looks spectacular (the snowy mountainside scenery is beautiful), the acting is good, and the special effects are top-notch. All is for naught though due to the fact that nearly every single second of is borrowed from somewhere else. That and the entire midsection is akin to watching paint dry.
If you demand nothing but buckets of blood and gore from your horror, Mutants fits the bill. It begins and ends with serious carnage. However, an American horror movie this imitative would be torn to shreds, and rightfully so. Subtitles and accents don’t change the fact that this is a rip off, something that is not specific to any single country.