It’s not often these days that something that purports to be a professional feature film leaves us slack-jawed in astonishment at its almost complete and utter ineptitude. There’s usually some redeeming feature in even the clumsiest cinematic enterprise. But we tried really hard to find something of worth in The Mutation and could find virtually nothing to recommend in this truly terrible, awkward, shoddy travesty. The Mutation can’t even claim to be so bad it’s good because it’s just… bad.
In a remote laboratory… somewhere… a mutated giant rat escapes captivity and slaughters the man who appears to have created it. The rat is clearly a man in an extraordinarily threadbare costume that in no way resembles a rat; it’s more like an Easter bunny recovering from a particularly hare-raising (geddit?) night on the town. The authorities – mainly two Police officers played by a couple of gentlemen who appear to have walked past an acting school at some point and now consider that they’re entitled to appear in films – are understandably concerned and call in troubled zoologist Allen Marsh (Ricardo Freitas) to help them track down this strange murderous beastie. He decides to spend a lot of his time drinking wine and flirting lightly with the murdered boffin’s wife Linda Rowe (Amana-Jade Tyler, dreadful) in two scenes that are virtually identical (as well as pointless). Meanwhile, the rat is embarking on a farcical rampage – you will hoot at the scene where the rat, having invaded the kitchen of a local restaurant, proceeds to tear a hapless waitress apart in full view of the restaurant’s diners who just sit and watch instead of getting up and running away, jumping through the nearest window or screaming their heads off in terror.
Eventually, in case you’re interested, the rat-thing, having offed several members of the cast in a most unconvincing manner is trapped and gassed in the house where it was created (despite the fact that most of the windows have been left wide open) for some reason, it turns into a giant hairless CGI monster for some other reason (at least it has the decency to look more like a rat now) before… er… exploding. The end.
Written, directed and edited by Scott Jeffrey, The Mutation really has to be seen to be believed. The film is all over the place… quite literally. Many of the characters attempt to speak in cod American accents and the film is largely non-specific about where it’s set although the appearance of an American patrol car in a handful of sequences leads us to believe that we’re supposed to be somewhere in the States. But then in one appalling sequence where a TV news reporter is breathlessly warning the public about the danger of this escaped creature, a banner headline refers to something running amok “in the English countryside” – even though the aforementioned American patrol car is sitting in the background of the shot. Scenes establishing the Police headquarters are clearly filmed at the Two Kingdom Street office complex at Paddington in London and amateur filmmakers keen to convince their audiences that the action takes place in the USA might want to watch out for those three-pin power point sockets in their interior scenes, which tend to give the game away a little.
The Mutation is sloppy and careless – spotting its numerous continuity fluffs could be a drinking game that will help pass the tortuous time – lumbered with a dire script and hapless performances from just about everyone unfortunate enough to find themselves in front of the camera. In a last, desperate attempt to find something positive to say about this clunker, it seems that Jeffrey has some flair as a director and it’s a decently edited effort so he might be advised to leave the scripting to someone who doesn’t have a tin ear for dialogue and some idea of how to plot a story or, perhaps more sensibly, consider a career well away from film-making. The Mutation is a real horror but for all the wrong reasons.