It’s a hell of a town…
Originally entitled, simply, Mulberry Street, Jim Mickle’s 2006 horror has been repackaged as Zombie Virus on Mulberry Street for its UK DVD release – most likely to make it more obviously appealing to genre fans browsing the shelves. But this in your face title, together with the DVD’s garish artwork, doesn’t do justice to the intelligent, understated and surprising film that crosses outlandish creature feature traditions with post 9/11 paranoia to hugely entertaining effect.
It’s a normal, albeit sweltering, summers day for the sociable residents of an apartment building on Manhattan’s Mulberry Street. But, as they go about their everyday business, it becomes clear that something is very wrong. A deadly virus is sweeping the city, turning victims into carnivorous, rodent-like creatures, and 51 Mulberry Street soon turns into a fortress against the rising tide of the infected…
On the surface, this is a low-budget, B-movie affair, but Mickle’s gritty, ultra-real focus and the naturalistic performances of the cast mean that, despite its outlandish premise it’s more frightening than frightful even with its moments of dark humour. And it’s got something to say; that one of the apartment’s residents is a soldier, forced to battle her way home across New York after surviving the horrors of Iraq, is a powerful message that, post 9/11, the fight continues even on home soil. And the movie’s Night of the Living Dead-esque, downbeat ending further compounds this sense of paranoia and pessimism that was particularly rife when the movie was made three years ago, in the middle of George Bush’s Presidential term.
All in all it’s an ambitious, thought-provoking and clever piece of film-making that will satisfy both hardened gore-hounds and those looking for a deeper viewing experience. 4 stars
Stars Nick Damici, Kim Blair, Bo Corre
Director Jim Mickle
Distributor Momentum Pictures
Released May 18th