MUTANT BLAST **** Portugal / USA 2018 Dir: Fernando Alle. 83 mins
Leading a resistance group on the run from the military drones responsible for a disastrous super-soldier project, bad-ass soldier Maria (Maria Leite) releases hulking “test subject” TS-347 from a secret lab at the start of this delightful Troma release. “28 hours later…” hungover shmuck Pedro Barao Dias wakes up post-party with a cock and moustache drawn on his face and is forced to hook up with Maria to fight off the marauding undead while the powers that be unload some Nuclear bombs. Oscillating between throwaway visual gags (a guy in a giraffe mask having his guts munched by a zombie nurse) and fantasy dream sequences of Pedro as a noble warrior, this fast-paced, eager-to-please horror comedy boasts a rousing abundance of head-stomping gory practical make-up effects…and Lloyd Kaufman as a zombie. Among its most satisfying running gags is an outdated but very satisfying mockery of the pretensions of 28 DAYS LATER: the word “zombie” is bleeped out of the dialogue while characters argue about whether the threat is officially a “zombie” one or not. The community of mutants that gives the movie its title balances a timely ecological message with an overriding sense of absurdity and, most importantly, real affection for the characters. Pedro’s hand mutates into a hilarious, smiley puppet rat while a giant, lactating rat shows up and the movie is stolen by Joao Vilas as Jean-Pierrre, a giant, human-hating but romantic and lovelorn mutant French lobster. Offering insight into his own kind (“lobsters don’t worry about Mondays!”) and airing his grievances (“dolphins are motherfuckers!”), Jean-Pierre deserves a movie of his own. Jean-Pierre for President! Vote Jean-Pierre!
Review by Steven West