A mutated rat has been let loose in a city.
Release Date: 2021 | Runtime: 1hr 27min | Genre: Horror | Source: Publicist
The Mutation Review
Look, if you put a giant rat in your movie, chances are very good that I’m going to watch your movie. The Mutation put a giant rat in their movie, so I watched it. The rat is actually a human being in a suit that barely resembles a rat, but I will take my giant rat however I can get it. It’s unfortunate that the movie surrounding this giant rat man thing is not very interesting.
The plot is pretty basic though somehow there is still quite a lot of it. A scientist man is working on something and, as one does, accidentally creates a human sized rat creature which, as a giant rat does, almost immediately tears his throat out. I liked that the movie didn’t keep their creature in the dark until the final act. This thing is up front and centre almost immediately and while it’s certainly a goofy looking monstrosity, I think that adds to the charm.
From there, the police bring in their zoologist expert, Allen, to investigate the body as it appears to be an animal attack. They find a hair and they are off and running from there. A surprisingly large amount of the movie is focused on the investigation, as well as Allen’s relationship with the widow of the dead scientist. I wonder if they were going for a B movie “science gone amok” approach, as those movies definitely have a lot of scientists talking about scientist shit. Here though, it leads to a lot of dull scenes of characters sitting and spouting backstory and exposition. I can’t say I was too interested in the relationship between Allen and the widow, but the movie seems to feel it’s worth way more focus than the giant rat that is running around munching on city folk.
Thankfully the rat scenes fare much better. The rat is a silly costume, but the guy in there is committed to the part. He’s got the movements down and is generally giving it his all. Plus making the rat human sized means we occasionally get to see the rat do some one on one fighting and I think we can all agree that’s something the world could use more of. The effects work in these sequences is pretty solid and all of it looks practical. Not a drop of bad looking CGI blood in sight! Nothing but hands and arms being torn apart by a big rat man, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. A scene inside a crowded restaurant is the highlight of the movie for sure and the whole thing could have used that level of energetic chaos.
I think that’s my biggest issue is the whole thing is a little slow, which is damning for an 84 minute movie. The tone is a little all over the place. There are some dark comedic moments (a failed attempt to shoot the rat got a surprised chuckle out of me) but it’s mostly taken very seriously. There are things that are maybe supposed to be humorous, like how quickly everyone identifies this thing as a giant rat even though it doesn’t resemble one at all, but a lot of scenes fall flat and could have used a jolt of excitement.
I will say that the movie isn’t hugely held back by what I imagine was a miniscule budget. There’s a decent variety of locations, though granted mostly interiors, and the whole thing is well put together. None of the performances are incredible, but there’s nothing distractingly bad either.
The Mutation has moments that come close to making it a fun B movie, but they are unfortunately stitched together by uninteresting characters spouting uninteresting dialogue about their uninteresting problems and relationships. You can certainly do far, FAR, worse with many of the low budget creature features that are out there, but there just isn’t enough here for me to recommend you spend your time with it.
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