Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street (2006)

Directed By: Jim Mickle
Written By: Jim Mickle
  Nick Damici
Starring: Nick Damici
  Kim Blair
  Bo Corre
  Ron Brice
Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street

Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street is a hugely enjoyable movie. It’s knowingly silly whilst simultaneously managing to be gripping and affecting. The plot, as with most zombie movies, is ridiculously simple, it chronicles the outbreak of a deadly infection that causes humans to turn into hideous mutant rat creatures with a taste for flesh, and the effects on the residents of an apartment building in Manhattan.

The cast is fleshed out by a ragtag bunch of likable and diverse characters, each of which is portrayed affectionately and with just the right amount of emotional depth to avoid the interactions and relationships between them from ever becoming contrived.

The zombie sub-genre is such a saturated one that when you stumble upon a truly original film amongst the masses of derivative crap-fests, it’s easy to be seduced by it. Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street is one such film. There is nothing particularly special about the direction and the story unfolds in a by-the-book fashion but from the beginning, it’s obvious there is something different about it all. The film has a distinct look and feel, and the limited sets are used wonderfully; all claustrophobically tense and sometimes repugnantly grimy as one would imagine only New York can be. Using New York’s notorious rat infestation problem as the basis of an infection-driven horror movie is a stroke of genius. Watching the rapid spread of the deadly disease and the aftermath it creates is a rollercoaster ride.

The mutant rat zombies themselves are, for the most part, admirably achieved. Some of the gore effects expose the film for the super low-budget affair that it is but most belie its ‘indie’ origins and are a triumph of ingenuity and resourcefulness, sitting on just the right side of authentic.

An unusual soundtrack of peculiarly retro songs that make the film really stand out from the pack and chillingly recalls the 1970’s exploitation era backs the whole thing. It’s a strange technique and could have backfired horribly but despite the harsh juxtaposition between the modern setting and the vintage music, it manages to create an exquisite framework for the events to take place in, much like The Devils Rejects did so well.

Despite the relatively formulaic plot, it’s never easy to second-guess Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street and certain scenes almost take it upon themselves to re-write the rule book. There is little here to dislike; the pacing is quick, moving swiftly from one scene to the next with almost no ‘filler’ material, the acting is surprisingly competent given the cast of uninitiated, relative unknowns, the characters are immensely likable and the effects are on a par with films of much higher acclaim and financial backing. My only complaints are the occasionally poorly lit scene and the obvious influence of some of George Romero’s back catalogue. Regardless, Zombie Virus… never succumbs to appropriation; it merely serves to honour the greats and to carve its own adjoining path. It is a movie that has pathos, scares and some genuinely unpredictable moments in spades and should be sought out by any fan of independent horror cinema.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

One Comment on “Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street”

  1. The Scullion says:

    I was really surprised by this movie. It looked like it was going to be another crap zombie flick, but it was really enjoyable throughout, with some great characterisations. It also made the chaos on the streets seem very convincing. One wicked little zombie film.

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