21 January 2008 | Mr_Saxon
Excellent low budget horror.
New York City has a rat problem it seems. The little furry pests are crawling all over the place and you better hope they don't bite a chunk out of you because, when that happens, you start growing hair out of strange places and want to eat human flesh! "Mulberry Street" is an apocalypse movie which takes "28 Days Later" and filters it through a post 9-11 New York. It begins at a rundown tenement building on the titular street where we are introduced to several of those who live there including Clutch, a retired boxer, a bartender named Kay (living with her teenage son) and Coco who is Clutch's best friend. Meanwhile, Clutch's daughter Casey arrives in New York City after serving in the Middle East and begins making her way home. Unfortunately, there have been several reports of rats biting humans, a nasty virus spreading through the city and people suddenly turning on one another. This results in the subways being shut down and Casey is forced to make her way home on foot. Are all these events connected? You bet!
"Mulberry Street" begins slowly with the horrors kept in the background. A feeling of dread infects the first third of the movie; dark figures shamble around alleyways as the characters walk past, a man sits silently in Kay's bar sweating and acting strangely, rats scurry around nearby gutters and televisions begin reporting strange events. I actually quite liked this - it was nice to watch a horror movie where the characters were developed, allowing the audience to get to know them before the city fell into Hell. There aren't any stereotypes either which makes a nice change. The characters in this movie probably do exist somewhere in Manhattan; enabling you to care about whether they'll survive or not.
The movie was made for a very low budget and features a lot of shaky-cam, which is obviously used to hide some of the effects (although they were, in my opinion, pretty good - the rat people are appropriately gruesome and deformed) but it doesn't hurt the film. In addition, the visuals have a dark and very dirty look to them. For a movie which revolves around rats, this adds to the atmosphere and makes it appear more gritty and realistic.
I really enjoyed "Mulberry Street". The acting was great all round, the storyline was interesting and it was nice to see a movie of this type that didn't use zombies for once! The squealing noises made by the rat people as they flood through corridors and streets was suitably disturbing. If you enjoyed "28 Days Later" or are a horror fan in general then you should certainly check out "Mulberry Street". Jim Mickel is definitely a director to watch out for in the future. If he can produce something this entertaining with such a low budget, who knows what he'll be capable of with more money?