1-25 - Movie Review: MULBERRY STREETLions Gate Films / After Dark Films
2006
R

The city that never sleeps may shut its eyes for good when a deadly infection turns its residents to savage creatures. There is only hope for a small few, including six recently evicted tenants who must protect their crumbling apartment complex as the city around them is thrown into chaos…

Mullberry Street is one of the entries in the second round of After Dark Horrorfest movies, and one of the After Dark DVD showings that I’m slowly but surly slogging through. This one, I’ll be forthright, was not one I was really in a big hurry to watch, as the premise I read on the DVD cover blurb seemed to put it as another one of those Outbreak of Crazies type of horror films, where the budget is low and the crazies are mistaken for zombies. Basically, 28 Days Later in New York. Or something.

Instead, though, I found myself rather surprised. Not by much, but at least the movie proved me wrong with my pre-watching assumption of the plot. I like when that happens. And I have to admit, the twist on this is rather interesting.

In Mulberry Street, we’re introduced to the inhabitants of an apartment complex located on the titular street in New York city. The tenants are fighting to keep from being evicted by the city, which is not really part of the plot but it’s worth mentioning, just to get an idea of how bonded this eclectic mix of tenants are. One of said tenants is an ex boxer who is anxiously awaiting the return of his daughter from active service in the military. She’s on her way there when a infectious outbreak happens, causing everyone infected to turn into blood-thirsty monstrosities. And by “blood-thirsty monstrosities”, I mean “they turn into wererats.” And while that’s usually signals the possibility of unintentional hilarity, somehow actually made it seriously work as a horror device. This mostly had to do with the fact that the filmmakers wisely kept the wererats out of sight for the majority of the time when the outbreak attacks happen, only allowing brief flashes and shadows, forcing the viewers to use our imaginations. I wish I could say that the actual wererat effects themselves were just as effective, but let’s face it–they did come of as kitschy. Which is why I’m glad they didn’t feature very much until the last part.

The majority of the story is set in the apartment complex and the adjacent bar, which lends to a nice claustrophobic atmosphere, which adds to the overall effectiveness. And the characters themselves seemed genuine and didn’t bog us down with needless exposition to their back stories.

Overall, I was rather pleasantly surprised with how much I actually enjoyed watching Mulberry Street. With the non-assuming title, the low budget rawness and the creative usage of the less-is-more philosophy of horor movie filming, along with some very good performances from the cast, Mulberry Streets turned out to be one of the better offerings in the After Dark movie series. Worth checking out some time.

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