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Mutants - MPI Home Video Print E-mail
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Written by Ray Casta   
Sunday, 27 March 2011
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Mutants DVD Artwork on Severed Cinema

Directed by: David Morlet
Written by: David Morlet, Louis-Paul Desanges
Produced by: Alain Benguigui, Thomas Verhaeghe
Cinematography by: Nicolas Massart
Music by: Gregoire Couzinier, Thomas Couzinier
Cast: Hélène de Fougerolles, Francis Renaud, Dida Diafat
Year: 2009
Country: France
Language: French
Color: Color
Runtime: 1 h 29 min

Studio: MPI Home Video

In the past decade, a wave of French horror came as a breath of fresh air to genre fans everywhere.  By delivering their visions with equal parts originality and artistry, French filmmakers have solidified their spot in horror.  From "High Tension" to "Martyrs," France has served up gem after gem.  We've witnessed their gruesome, ultraviolent takes on cannibals, a homicidal lesbian, and a psychopathic woman hell-bent on separating a mother from her baby.  Naturally, it was simply a matter of time before the zombie genre was tackled by a French director.  Zombies might be oversaturated, but we never get tired of seeing them.  French horror plus zombies!?  Count me in.  David Morlet's "Mutants" is France's answer to Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later."  Unfortunately, the results are a mixed bag.

In the opening titles, it is revealed that a virus attempted to destroy the entire population.  For the survivors of the outbreak, help is promised in a military base, NOAH.  Immediately, "Mutants" starts on the ground running. Interspersed between credits, a pack of bloodthirsty zombies attack some innocent people.  A woman, ragged and bloody, falls into the frame.  Frightened for her life, she runs away and escapes them.  Taking a breath, she stops in the middle of a road.  Out of nowhere, a paramedics van crashes into her, splattering her to bits!  The vehicle carries Sonia (Helene de Fougerolles) and Marco (Francis Renaud), two lovers who are travelling with two lawmen.  They are on their way to the military base in search of a cure.  Pregnant Sonia and Marco decide to occupy a deserted building.  There is, however, one problem: Marco is infected with the virus.

Set against the backdrop of a zombie outbreak, "Mutants" is essentially a tragic love story.  Sonia loves Marco so much she will risk everything -- her own safety and her unborn child -- to help him.  In grand Cronenbergian fashion, Sonia watches as her beloved Marco deteriorates before her very eyes.  In the universe of "Mutants," it takes much longer for a human to completely transform into a zombie than we are used to seeing on film.  The transformation is not sudden.  It is a long and painful process.  Marcos suffers badly.  His hair falls out, he has violent outbursts, he bleeds, his teeth fall out, etc.  Through the suffering, Sonia sticks with him.  This is where the film will ultimately divide its audience.  The second act is devoted to the relationship of Marcos and Sonia, and Marcos evolving into a creature.  Some viewers will want zombie action.  Others will want more depth into the characters and their relationship.  Regretfully, the film does not find its equal ground.

Visually, "Mutants" looks sharp and defined.  Cinematography is vibrant in its blue color scheme.  The ground is covered in snow, the interior of the building is spacious and brightly lit, and the action is well choreographed.  Zombies are intense and threatening here, as they run and lunge towards their victims.  The creature design is awesome.  Complete with shotgun blasts, zombie slashing and killing, the splatter effects are nice and gory.  The film looks and sounds terrific, but co-writer/director Morlet stumbles in his characterization and risks losing viewers in the middle section.  You'll either like the transformation bits, or you won't.  For the initial part of the story, we're with Marcos and Sonia.  Their relationship is very important, but we never know them fully to feel for them.  We're left thinking it's a two-character show for a bit, but more characters pop up out of nowhere.  Clichés start to pile, and the film that was once a dark psychological "body horror" morphs back into a by-the-numbers zombie flick.

Perhaps, the film's biggest mistake is inexplicable actions by dumb characters.  Helene de Fougerolles gives a decent performance as Sonia, the center of the film.  She is incredibly convincing in her adoration for her infected lover.  In that respect, the character and performance works, and gives the movie its charm.  She is determined and strong, and even though we know next to nothing about her, we find ourselves rooting for her at times.  However, her character is forced to do some idiotic things that leave us scratching our heads, asking ourselves "Why?"  While there were chances the movie could have became something special, it's more of the same in the end.  Well made and nicely shot, "Mutants" sadly fails to reach its full potential.

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

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Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Mutants DVD Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD-R SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16:9 widescreen
 Region: NTSC R1
 Audio: French Dolby Digital 5.1 (English subtitles)


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - N/A

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 March 2011 )
 
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