Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Above is the original DVD image and below is one I bought.

Let's make one thing clear: this is not a zombie movie. Aggressive mutant rats bite people and infect them with a virus which turns them into highly aggressive flesh-eaters (human, cat, dog, whatever)  with claws, rat-like teeth and snouts. A bit silly really but it works in the context of the film. The original title is Mulberry Street and remains so on the movie's opening credits. Nope this is just a misleading attempt to cash in on the popularity of zombies. So, if you buy this thinking you're getting a zombie movie, you'll be pleasantly surprised as this is much better than most of them.

It's set in New York over the course of around 24 hours. It begins quietly with a news report of a few people being bitten by rats in a subway station and builds slowly as more incidents happen, people get taken to hospital, bitten people start getting violent, people panic and try to get out the city, martial law is declared, the city is quarantined, and then it's night and the streets belong to the infected.

That is the background against which the human story is told. It focuses on a group of people who live in an apartment building and who are likely to be forced out by the imposition of higher rents. The core group include: two old men who live together, one of them crippled; a gay black man; an ex-boxer; his scarred daughter on her way home after being released from a veteran's hospital; a forty-something mother and her teenage son. These are ordinary working class people who look and sound like ordinary working class people. There are no busty bimbos, sex-mad teenagers, or hero types. They are just going about their normal lives as a crisis builds in the background and finally drags them in to a fight for survival. The performances by the cast are uniformly excellent and believable.

The film itself is very well structured and paced. There's an increasing use of hand held cameras and fast cutting as the pace increases, particularly during the action scenes. Unlike many horror movies, it doesn't linger over the gore of which there is plenty and I think the 18 rating is a little harsh.

In short, a silly idea is transcended by its excellent execution.

There aren't many stills available so here are just a couple.

Or three.

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