Mutants is one of latest batch of French horror
films that fell prey to the hype. It's not a bad film, by far, but it
simply cannot stand up to the high standards that have been set by some
of its predecessors. As soon as you can accept that, there's actually
plenty to enjoy here. If you don't mind "not-actually" zombies that is.
These last couple of years we've been spoiled by the French horror
scene. It all started with Haute Tension, followed by a solid body of
work containing Ils, A
It was almost impossible for the new batch to live up to the
expectations, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that in the end they
didn't. Proof is found in the rather long waiting time for their actual
releases. Lukewarm receptions at film fests and the local market have
been hindering international availability.
Mutants is the first entry in the French zombie genre, though true fans
will point out that Mutants doesn't have any actual zombies. The
infected aren't actually dead and act more like dogs with rabies than
the sludging zombies of yonder. Think along the lines of 28 Days Later, a
good companion piece for Mutants, as it also shares a somewhat similar
Morlet takes a flying start and catapults you right into the action. In
the first 10 minutes the setting is sketched, though any concrete
details remain absent. We don't learn much except that there was an
outbreak of a rather hideous virus, turning normal people into fierce
cannibals. There is a rumored safe base though nobody knows how real it
actually is. Apart from that, there's snowy mountains and the occasional
survivor. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but a nice setup for a
genre flick nonetheless.
Visually Mutants remains close to its peers. A gritty, grainy and dark
look, making maximum use of the contrasting snowed-down landscapes.
Blood has an eery black color, dirt and decay is everywhere and the
creature effects are top notch. Morlet uses a monochrome color palette
with lots of grey/blues to give his film an extra dreary dimension.
Camera work is pretty vivid and shaky, though done in a solid and
believable way. Nothing to complain about here.
The soundtrack is effective though sometimes a little underplayed. Most
scenes are set to some subtle ambient soundscapes, often hardly audible
but subtly raising the uneasy feeling in a good selection of scenes.
Acting is decent enough, though some of the secondary characters are a
little odd, unfitting or even unneeded. The main characters are putting
in good performances though, displaying a vivid sense of urgency.
Even though the film bursts open right away, the first half of Mutants
is actually spent with only two characters and very little action. We
see how one of the characters is affected by the virus, turning into a
full-fledged mutant, while his wife (a medic by profession) does
everything to save him. Around the halfway point a group of survivors
enters the film, bringing with them a more action-filled second part,
though still keeping a tight focus on the emotional undercurrent.
Those expecting lots of action, bucket loads of gore and continuous high
tension will feel a little underwhelmed. Mutants is a more downplayed
experience that skillfully crafts a heavy atmosphere, weighing down on
the viewer. Compared to its big brothers, it's nowhere near as gripping
or extreme, but on its own it's still a great zombie flick with a
sublime finale. One for the fans, just don't expect another masterpiece.
Do you feel this content is inappropriate or infringes upon your rights? Click here
to report it, or see our DMCA policy