Mutation (DVD)

Mutation DVD (click for larger image)Starring Brian Schwartz, Eddie Croft, Jessica Moon

Directed by Brad Sykes

Distributed by Razor Digital Entertainment

There’s a trend in horror cinema that has been popping up more and more in recent years. No, I don’t mean the terrible rash of remakes. I’m afraid it will be a long time before Hollywood can muster up the courage to pick up the necessary cream to cure that ailment. I’m referring to the current casting of professional and semi-professional athletes turned actors. We’re seeing wrestlers especially in roles anywhere from bit parts to main characters. These burly brutes range in stardom from The Rock to the Blue Meanie and have varying degrees of acting talent. Take my two examples; at least the Blue Meanie is entertaining to watch.

I bring this up because I just finished watching a low budget horror flick that starred one of these athletes. This time though toss the wrestlers out of the ring and throw in a kick boxer instead. Mutation stars Brian Schwartz (ISKA full contact kick boxing World Super Middleweight Champion), who plays Steve Gornick, a detective who takes down a sadistic serial killer known as “K”. Of course “K” doesn’t go down without a fight and kills Gornick’s partner during the bust. Like any clichéd cop in this situation, Detective Gornick trades in his badge for the bottle and drops off the radar.

Years later…an overzealous doctor experiments on a cadaver with his life-regenerating serum which is called…(I cringe to say it)…Trioxin! Yes, that’s right! The same Trioxin that created zombies in Return of the Living Dead III! Well, the serum works and the cadaver revives! Which is a good thing…right? Duh! Of course not…It’s a horror movie!

Anywho! I’m sure you can see where this is going! Hell, the three blind mice can see where this is going even with that crazy farmer’s wife chasin’ their asses!

Yeah, yeah the idiot doctor has just revived the notorious “K” and what’s the first thing he does? Well, he’s been cryogenically frozen for five years. The dude is hungry! He heads to the nearest fast-food joint! He’s fiending for a cheeseburger and fries!

Ah, no!

He starts up where he left off and goes on yet another killing spree, but guess what? This time he’s not just “K” the sadistic murderous bastard. Now he’s “Super K”! (Not to be confused with the department store chain of a similar name) Don’t you know that not only does Trioxin bring you back from the dead, but it also gives you super strength and regenerative powers! The cop on the case has his work cut out for him. Not only does he have to find and stop a seemingly invincible killer, but he also has to track down Gornick and convince him to help hunt a man that he killed years before.

Mutation is one of those films that you could go your entire life without ever seeing and probably be a better person for it. Simply put, it is a bad movie. It has all the qualities that bad movies have. It has bad acting and bad writing and bad effects and some sound dubbing that is absolutely atrocious, but for some ungodly reason I couldn’t help but be entertained.

Blame this on my deviant fondness for Troma films; I can’t help but enjoy a movie that uses cotton balls and colors only found in a crayon box to create its monster design. Nothing will put a smile on my face faster than bad effects and a creature that becomes increasingly covered with giant purple boils. That’s movie magic!

Yes, Mutation is a pulsing, purple pustule of FUN!

In true Troma style Mutation doesn’t try to be anything but what it is. A bad movie! I have to admit though that it is a mere shadow of any true Troma masterpiece. Lloyd Kaufman has a way with “gooey goodness” that few can even pretend to duplicate. Unfortunately, Mutation waits too long to get to the goo-d parts.

Even accepting it as a bad movie, Mutation is a far cry from decent filmmaking. Poor production values aside, throughout the story there are some elements that are more stolen than borrowed or even taken as homage. From the Trioxin to the Herbert West wannabe doctor, there are some blatant rip-offs in this film. These, combined with lackluster fight choreography and some amateurish directing, will leave many fans having a hard time looking past these problems.

The DVD release of Mutation features a fullscreen presentation of the film; “Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Making a Mutation,” a fun little behind-the-scenes featurette, the original trailer, and a commentary with the producer Josephine Sykes and writer/director Brad Sykes.

If I had to base my rating of this film on production quality alone, I probably wouldn’t be able to give it more than a 1, but if I was basing my rating off of my enjoyment level, it would be a 3. So what I am doing for this fun little flick is meeting myself halfway. I’m sure not everyone will agree with this, but hey…it’s my review!

Special Features
Commentary by Brad Sykes and Josephina Sykes
“Blood, Sweat and Fear: Making a Mutation” featurette

2 out of 5

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Jon Condit