Review Date: October 13, 2000
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 10/31/2000
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
Two brothers - Josh (Wings Hauser) and Mike - are headed into a small country town for some relaxation. Along the way Josh starts joking around at the wheel and almost hits a truck in the opposing lane. The truck, full of local hillbillies, turns around and starts rearending the brothers car. Eventually the truck knocks runs their car off the road into a pond. The two begin walking towards town and eventually are able to flag down Mel (Stuart Culpepper), a passing motorist, though Josh is nearly hit in the process. Mel is running a bit behind and has to let them out just outside of the town. Before driving off he warns them to "shake a leg...it aint good to be out on these roads after dark".
They arrive into town as nightfall begins. After some exploring the town a bit they come across a dead body. Mike goes into a nearby bar to call the police. Problems arise when the local hillbillies that were driving the truck recognize Mike. Josh arrives to Mike's defense and soon a fight breaks out. Before any real damage is done Sheriff Will Stewart (Bo Hopkins) arrives and breaks it up. Josh and Mike bring the sheriff to the dead body, but all they find is a sleeping drunk. Apparently someone removed the body or it got up and walked away. Josh and Mike decide to call it a night and find a place to sleep.
The next morning Mike is nowhere to be found. Josh heads into a local bar where he meets Holly (Jody Medford), a local school teacher. She agrees to take him to a nearby gas station on the edge of town, which is where Josh thinks his brother may have gone. Along the way they stop at the school Holly teaches at so she can pickup some papers. While there they hear some strange noises coming from the basement. Josh goes to investigate and after a few moments in the basement the dead body of a young girl falls on top of him. Before he has a chance to recover, Albert Hogue (Marc Clement), one of the troublesome locals driving the truck Josh almost hit, shows up and accuses Josh of killing her. There's a struggle between the two but Josh manages to escape. Josh and Holly begin to realize that more and more people in the town are showing up dead. Not only that, but many of the townsfolk are turning into walking zombies. Now they must convince the sheriff of what's happening and try to destroy the zombies before they too become the walking dead.
The first hour of Mutant is a bit of a drag, spending too much time building characters and an explanation for the upcoming zombies you're about to see. Once the zombies start coming out full force the movie definitely becomes a lot more enjoyable. There's a few decent scares and the zombies are reasonably creepy looking. Instead of having the green face zombies like Romero did, Mutant has gray faced and gray haired zombies. I actually like the way the zombies look quite a bit, perhaps even more so than Romero's zombies. I also enjoyed seeing the whole batch of zombie children in the movie, which always creeps me out for some reason. The story won't win any awards (dead bodies mutated into zombies by toxic chemicals) and don't expect tons of gore in Mutant. The low budget aspect definitely sticks out in a few spots - a matchbox car in a miniature pond to represent a real car in a real pond, a zombie with a very long arm that has a fake hand attached to it (checkout the larger version of the screenshot on the right), and more. However, when all I said and done I think zombie fans will enjoy this one, if not for cool looking and effective zombies alone.
Elite presents Mutant in an anamorphic (16x9) widescreen transfer in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. A few noteworthy problems here, the biggest being grain that is evident throughout various scenes. It's most noticeable in darker scenes, but it also appears in some lighter scenes as well. Most of the grain is fairly light, but it's still there nonetheless and there are times in the darker scenes where it gets a bit heavy. There's also a few print blemishes - scratches and dirt - and a few white specks that appear. Minus those problems the transfer is spectacular, boasting solid colors that are nicely saturated. Image is sharp overall with only a few soft spots. Flesh tones appear accurate and well balanced. As usual, Elite definitely delivered a great transfer - I'm scoring it a B+.
Mutant is presented with a mono soundtrack. No audio problems were heard. Track is distortion free and dialogue was clear throughout. That's all you can ask of a mono track.
A theatrical trailer only.
A decent little zombie movie that most zombie fans should get some enjoyment from. Probably best to rent it first and decide whether it's your type of movie. Though light on extras, Elite gives us a DVD with an overall nice, high quality transfer for a very reasonable price at $24.95.
Movie - B
Image Quality - B+
Sound - A-
Supplements - C
- Running time - 1 hour 40 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Digital Mono