(Zombie Virus on) Mulberry Street – Review

(Zombie Virus on) Mulberry Street – Review

Yeahhh, Rat Fans! Sorry, had to get it out of my system – on with the review.

Something peculiar is happening on the streets and subways of Manhattan. Rats are attacking and biting people, infecting them with a mysterious virus that is quickly spreading throughout the city. Clutch (the films co-writer, Nick Damici) and the residents of his run-down, Mulberry Street apartment block must stick together to survive in this indie horror thriller.

Set in the lower East side, the film revolves around Clutch, an aging former boxer and single dad who is preparing for his daughter’s return from service in the Middle East. The news starts to report incidences of people being bitten and hospitalised by rats on the subway. Those bitten are going through a bizarre metamorphosis.

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Meanwhile the building’s Superintendent, Ross (Tim House), who is desperately trying to keep the derelict apartment block on its feet as the power fails and the water supply falters, is bitten by an infected rat. It’s not long before the virus takes hold and Ross starts to turn into one of the creatures that have begun plaguing the city.

Across town, Clutch’s daughter Casey (Kim Blair) is unaware of what is happening on the streets of New York and is desperately trying to get home to her father after returning to America and being discharged from the veterans wing of a hospital. Clutch is not only concerned for the safety of his daughter but also for potential love interest Kay (Bo Corre) and sets out to rescue her from her workplace. It is in the chaos ridden streets that Clutch and Casey are reunited and head back to the perceived safety and familiarity of Mulberry Street.

mulberrystreet24 (Zombie Virus on) Mulberry Street   Review

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Mulberry Street is not a zombie movie.

There is much debate over what constitutes a ‘zombie’ and films such as 28 Days Later, of which Mulberry Street can be compared to, are about infected humans (aka ‘Fast Zombies’) rather than your typical ‘living dead’ type of zombie.
“So if it’s not a zombie movie, why is it being reviewed on ZombieCommand?” I hear you ask. Well, any readers in the UK that head into their local DVD retailer won’t find this title under ‘M’, but rather under ‘Z’. The UK DVD title is “Zombie Virus on Mulberry Street”. In this reviewer’s opinion, that title is misleading at best, but this isn’t the place to continue the ‘what constitutes a zombie’ debate.

Despite a distinct lack of the living dead, Mulberry Street is clearly heavily influenced by the zombie movies that have gone before it. I’ve already mentioned 28 Days Later and throughout the movie there are elements of social commentary, a la George A Romero; references to 9/11, terrorism, the war in Iraq and a subtle jab at former US President, George Bush Jr. Fortunately the film isn’t bogged down in political awareness and doesn’t try to ram these elements down the throat of the viewer. I also felt there was another commentary about the break up ‘community’ with the residents given an eviction notice and the block ready to be torn down in place of shiny new development. But perhaps I was reading a little too much into it. There is also a scene towards the end that is very reminiscent of a Night of The Living Dead scene, but I won’t spoil it for you.

Like many movies in the genre, Mulberry Street is shot on a shoestring budget. However, unlike many movies in the genre, that fact isn’t obvious. Sure the movie lacks the quality effects and CGI of its bigger-budgeted peers, but the most appealing factor of this movie has nothing to do with camera trickery, elaborate make-up or video editing. The thing that really stuck with me throughout was the sense of community and ‘real-life’ created by the actors and film makers. Often I felt like I was watching real people going about their real lives rather than actors playing parts. In fact, I think if I’d sat through a movie about these resident’s lives and their struggles I would have enjoyed it as much, or perhaps even more.

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Having mentioned the effects, or lack there of, a review wouldn’t be complete without mention of the ‘rat-men’ creatures or ‘Wererats’. Personally, I couldn’t stand them. In comparison to other movies, the make-up is fairly decent I suppose, but I was skeptical when we were first treated to a glimpse of some hairy ears – so you can imagine my cynicism when presented with a human rat thing in all its pointy toothed glory. Some reviews hail the inclusion of rats as imaginative, but I would have much rather they were good old fashioned zombies/infected people.

Mulberry Street is an enjoyable experience if only for the way in which the writing and direction captures a real feeling of community and creates like-able characters that you care about. As a Horror flick it’s a touch formulaic and doesn’t really tread new ground, most importantly it’s not particularly scary or thrilling. All that taken into account, Mulberry Street is an endearing little movie, light on zombies but big on heart.

7 out of 10 Zombie Fingers

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Epic_Problem writes exclusively for ZombieCommand.com (until he gets a better offer or bored). You can follow his vaguely zombie related ramblings over on his Twitter.

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Comments (3)

 

  1. ArghZombies says:

    This wasn’t too bad a movie, but certainly seemed to rip-off / homage numerous superior movies (REC, Notld, and even The Fly).
    I found the sense of claustrophobia really quite impressive, but whenever any action kicked-in it just bored me. And the less said about the ending the better really.
    However I think the best memory I will have of this film (after the man-rat transformation scene) will be the Roland Rat headline image you used for this review. Mulberry Street? Oh yes, the one with Roland Rat in the review!

  2. Epic_Problem says:

    see, when I started watching this the “this is a rip-off of REC” alarm bells were ringing in my head…until i realised that REC (and the remake – Quarantine) both came out afterwards.
    The main difference between this and REC/Quaratine, for me at least, is that in Mulberry St. I sort of cared about the residents, whereas in REC/Quarantine I found them rather annoying – I guess more like real people in that sense :)

    This was shaping up nicely until i saw man-rat and then it went out the window a bit.
    REC was the better movie though, by a long stroke.

  3. I go along with the too costly garbage comment. I can’t stand the look, sound as well as feel within the Beats.

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