I love a good romantic, albeit zombie, story. First, this is a French horror film. And you know recently the French have only made one kind of horror film – The brutal and disturbing type. With Mutants, Director David Morlet reminds us all that French is still the language of love even amidst a zombie outbreak that threatens to kill off the world (and its lovers). Mutants is much more traditional (as a zombie flick) and will appeal to a much wider audience than say, Inside or Martyrs. I love those flicks, but the whole French Extremity wave isn’t exactly for everyone.
Sonia and Marco make a happy couple. Unfortunately, this is a zombie movie and if we have learned one thing from zombie films, falling in love, being in love, or loving almost anything will not end well. And within the first few minutes poor Marco gets infected. Is all hope lost? No, not yet. Sonia is immune to the virus having been bitten earlier and she knows of a secret military base named Noah, where research and cures are being explored. Sonia must deal with Marco’s transformation, while fending off bandits, zombies, all the while trying to reach Noah.
Unlike a vast majority of zombie flicks, the transformations do not randomly occur when it’s convenient to the plot. This is important and sets the film apart from many others – in a good way. Marco’s turn is slow, haunting, and disturbingly painful. Morlet manages to turn a human eye towards the virus. And in doing so, captures a side of emotion rarely seen in a genre film. And while Marco’s transformation into a mindless, bloodthirsty zombie is tough to watch; Sonia has an equally tough task of watching her lover waste away – nearly helpless. The only hope or allusion is finding a cure.
If you get on board with the psychological and emotional aspects of the film, it would be hard to be disappointed with this effort. Mutants isn’t afraid to ask tough questions. How far would you go to save a loved one? When do you let go? Who gets the last bullet?
Hardcore zombie fans looking for tons of gore, blood, or comedy should probably look elsewhere. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of brutal deaths (both human and zombie), but to say this isn’t a splatter film or a particularly exciting film. When boiled down to the lowest denominator, Mutants is a love story wrapped in a zombie plot. If it wasn’t for the acting performances of the lovers I would say this film was average. In the end their love plays into a dark and beautiful ending.
An interesting zombie film chalked full of love, existentialism, and guts. In other words, a nice French film.
Snore Factor: ZZZ