Synopsis: Two brothers discover that the residents of a small Southern town are being infected by a form of toxic waste, turning them into blood-ravenous zombies.
Have you ever gone on vacation and no matter where you went whenever you came into contact with someone they ended up being real defensive against you even if you were just passing through. Sometimes it can be body language or being able to read individual personalities within minutes of coming in contact with another human that can rub others the wrong way. You might think you’re not doing anything wrong and even if you’re not staying long the slightest misstep could make the situation beyond uncomfortable. We’ve all experienced it at one point or the other whether we were the tourist whose destination is where ever the road leads or the person who has lived in a relatively small town for a majority of their life and doesn’t like it when complete strangers show up and disrupt the peace and solace of their tightly knit community. This is where my mind was at 30 minutes into Mutant (released theatrically as Night Shadows). Two brothers from the big city are traveling down south to get away from the turmoil of life in the suburbs when they end up driving recklessly and getting under the skin of some locals who decide to teach them a lesson by smashing their pickup truck into the brother’s convertible and ultimately forcing them off the road. The lesson here being if you act like stuck up a-holes the people you come in contact are not afraid to be even larger a-holes.
Mutant is undoubtedly a byproduct of the early 1980s trying to pass itself off as a zombie movie without actually referencing the Z-word. I say that because the undead in this don’t crave human flesh but human blood instead so technically wouldn’t that make them an alternate breed of vampire? There’s even a point where it is directly stated that these creatures have a weakness towards daylight (or any source of light in general) so screw horror movie logic – they’re vampires. Like thin plots that move at breakneck speed? Check out Mutant. Like getting your fill of confederate flags and Castrol GTX signs? Check out Mutant. Like laughably bad choreographed bar fights and seeing the local sheriff with a checkered past turning to a bottle of Wild Turkey? Ah yeah Mutant has you covered there as well. Wait, wait here’s the last one (I promise) do you enjoy hearing a somewhat creepy soundtrack drowning out the dialogue in parts of the film rendering pretty much every scare ineffective? Why are you still reading this? CHECK OUT MUTANT RIGHT F’N NOW! If you are not part of any of those demographics and are still wondering if Mutant is going to appeal to you no one has to worry their little heads about missing out on a cinematic milestone here. Apart from a practical effect or two the only other thing that made my eyes widen were seeing a couple stunt actors engulfed in flames from head to toe. Too bad the rest of the production couldn’t capitalize by giving audiences something radically different from Night of The Living (Toxic Vampire) Dead. Lastly I’d like to send my personal apologies to Wings Hauser’s perm Mutant should be avoided like a vat of industrial waste.
Final Grade: D-