Ric Roman Waugh, 2013
Screened at the SXSW Film Festival
The sort of tenacious, low-budget zombie horror concoction that sometimes earns respect from genre aficionados, Mulberry Street is mostly notable for its sly political overtones — Iraq soldier comes back to find her country invaded by rat people (who also, incidentally, disrupt the takeover of an old-time NYC apartment building by a behemoth realtor) — since genuine scares are pretty much lacking. With its aggressively DV cinematography and notable lack of funds for any real effects, debut filmmaker Jim Mickle is left with lots of sharp teeth, quick cuts and incoherent bloody mayhem. What’s worse is his inability to muster suspense during the lengthy build-up, though I did like the progression of news reports, gradually escalating from bemused to panicked.
There are things to like here, like the gritty New York setting — the film might not be much for suspense, but Mickle knows how to take advantage of the urban milieu, making it dank, dark, vaguely menacing. And there are the aforementioned persistent attempts to politicize the proceedings, which at least add a level of curiosity to the otherwise generic zombie antics. But if Mickle wants to be, as the SXSW talking head kindly labeled him before the screening, “a new voice in horror,” he’s going to have to do a better job of working with what he’s got.
-- Eugene Novikov
|Starring:||Nick Damici, Kim Blair, Vonia Arslanian, Adam Folk|
|Directed by:||Jim Mickle|