Well, your Favorite Catgirl is back, and surprise, surprise…. this time out, I’ve got lots more Zombies for you here at the ol’ Litterbox….
Well, actually I’ve got “Mutants”, on the UK Region 2 DVD release of the French horror goodie just chock full of virus infested homicidal cannibal zombies… Errrrr, I mean mutants… I think. Whatever…. they look like zombies… they eat people just like zombies…. so if it quacks like a duck then, well… you know the rest.
Our synopsis goes like this: “In a world devastated by a pandemic virus that horribly transmutes human beings into primitive and bloodthirsty creatures, the last hope for survivors is the military station ‘Noe’ where scientists are researching the cure. Marco (Francis Renaud) and Sonia (Hélène De Fougerolles) set off to find the secret base to escape from the ‘mutants’. When they are attacked, Marco becomes contaminated and little by little begins to undergo the same changes as the other creatures. Sonia, pregnant with their first child, must somehow fight off the hordes and force herself to fight the man she once loved.”
Hmmmm? Sounds like a winner… but do the French know what to do with zombies? I certainly hope so, especially given the immanent arrival of another French zombie film “Le Horde”…. and you know I’m just gonna have to get that one too. (I’m just such a hopeless lil’ zombie loving doofus!!!)
You Gentle Visitors can, of course, can find out all the grisly details for yourselves by just taking Neko’s subtle hint and continuing to “Read On!”….
After our last little foray into the bleak landscape of “Zombie Apocalypse” that overwhelmed the exotic faraway land of Turkey, my sweet Carolyn thought she was safe from another evening of fresh munching zombies for a while. (Tsk! Tsk!! What a foolish, foolish notion!!) At least she did until my latest package from Amazon.UK arrived with all the newest UK Region 2 releases, including this particular French horror goodie. Luckily… the idea of cuddling up with me for an evening on the couch (and the possibility of maybe just a wee bit of sweet canoodling) was just far toooo tempting for her to resist… zombies or not. So how did it go? Well…. the cuddling was certainly fun….. Oh, yes!! And the zombies… errr.. ahhh…. mutants… were pretty good too! Hehehehe!!
This one wastes no time getting right to things, story wise…. we start out with a confused grisly attack by the mutants on some poor group of survivors… as a badly injured woman makes her staggering getaway while the beasties chow down on her less fortunate companions. After a stumbling chase through the forest, she breaks out onto a deserted highway….. just in time to be splattered into gooey cherry jello all over the front of a speeding ambulance! Ouch!!
This ambulance, with EMT’s Sonia and Marco on board is fleeing some earlier confrontation with a pack of these nasty critters… along with two heavily armed police SWAT types, one of whom Sonia feverishly works on in the back while his nervous female partner menacingly threatens the paramedics with her sub-machine gun. Turns out her partners all covered with bites…. so it’s stop the ambulance time for our heroes while she puts several bullets in his head….. You get the idea she’d like to do the same to our blood covered (and probably contaminated) medics…. but she obviously needs them for now and there will be plenty of time for that sort of nastiness later. First she needs them to get her safely out of the Contaminated Zone and safely to the secret Military base at “Noe”….
Eventually, our group runs low on gas… necessitating a stop at a nearly destroyed station somewhere up in the mountains and an unfortunate encounter with a contaminated traumatized survivor leaves Marco wounded. Bitten by the survivor and shot by the SWAT officer, he’s in pretty sad shape once Sonia deals with their trigger happy cop….. permanently. Dragging him to the ambulance, the sound of an approaching pack of mutants convinces her it’s time to split… gas or no gas. Luckily for her…. she runs across a deserted complex waaaay up in the mountains before the ambulance conks out.
Just what this place is, we never learn…. it looks sort of like a big hospital or sanitarium…. with all these labyrinthine corridors, it’s own cafeteria, power generator, and even some sort of clinic set up. With Marco patched up as best she can, she radios the Military base for evacuation… lying to them about the two of them being uncontaminated… but getting no answer, despite the helicopters she hears flying back and forth overhead. Much of the rest of our film takes place here… first as Sonia grapples with the obvious viral changes occurring in the man she loves…. and then her struggles against the gang of motley raiders that show up having heard her distress call on their own radio. Luckily for her… by then, unable to kill him, Sonia has locked Marco away unknown to these vicious raiders.
These guys are your typical post apocalyptic thugs… scavengers, murderers, and thieves, and they want everything Sonia has… especially the keys to the ambulance. Why their leader Frank doesn’t just rape and kill her right away was surprising to me and Carolyn…. he certainly had that nasty vibe going on… but instead he and the others content themselves with using the sprawling complex as shelter while Sonia does her medic thing on one of their wounded men.
Naturally it isn’t long before they find out Sonia is naturally immune to the virus…. having been bitten weeks before, yet showing no ill effects. Also no surprise is the inevitable clash between Sonia, Frank and his men, and the roving mutants that eventually find their way to the complex as well. To further complicate things… Marco finishes his painful transformation into mutant killer, escaping just in time to join the fun.
Will Sonia escape alive? Will she find the courage to kill the man she loves, even if he is the father of her unborn child? Will the darn French Army ever get around to showing up to shoot up some mutants? Not to worry… they do get around to all that, and do it all in suitably timely fashion.
So… all in all, how did this one stack up? As a “Zombie Movie without Zombies”, this lil’ Catgirl thinks it did just fine. The “Mutants” of the title are suitably nasty things and stand in nicely for adversaries here…. and while not particularly original looking or done with startling make up effects, worked well. Our characters are simple…. mostly the usual stereotypes you expect in one of these movies. Not particularly original, but not embarrassingly bad either. Our Heroine Sonia is engaging and believable… both Neko and Carolyn were rooting for her to beat the odds and make it through this all alive…. (Although… we half expected her to survive the film only to be eaten alive from within by a Mutant Baby at the very end… somehow though, the filmmakers resisted the urge for that sort of unneeded twist ending….)
The UK Region 2 DVD is spartan…. Only a Trailer and the film itself, but it is presented with nice accurate separate English subtitles on a Letterboxed wide screen format. Neko can easily give this on a respectable 3 “Meows” out of 5 with one or two nice contented purrs for Hélène De Fougerolles’ spunky portrayal of Sonia and all the other good solid supporting performances. Good, strong heroines always work for this girl and this was no exception. With a nice film like this… Neko thinks this could mean her Luck will bode well when “Le Horde” finally lurches it’s Zombie butt to DVD. The French? Apparently they aren’t just all about Mimes and Flaky Croissants!! Hehehe!!
Trailer? Yep…. isn’t there always a Trailer? Of course there is… and here it goes, all chock full of zombie… ummmm?…. I mean mutant… action!!