Into the Mire (Muck, 2015)
Muck opens with a group of friends who just survived an attack on St. Patrick’s Day in a marsh. They apparently got separated in the chaos, but they came together again and hole up and a random vacation home. Once there characters go off for help, others stay and wait. They discover they are not alone, and the carnage begins.
The film is only about an hour and a half, and yet, it feels much longer. It is slow moving, and has to many false starts to potential scares. The camera focuses on, say, a doorknob on a half open door, closing in on it with “scary music” playing. Then the scene ends. There is a long and drawn out scene at a bar where the guy who ran for help runs into a bunch of people and nothing happens. He does not call the police or anything. The bigger question is…if it was that easy to get to the bar? Why didn’t everyone just go walking off with him?
Most of the women in the film seem to be there for how they look in push-up bras or even topless. There is one character who just wanders through the swamps topless…we never see her face and in the final indignity in the credits? The actress is unnamed. They show her (cutting her head from the frame) and block out her name.
The film tries to be meta and clever. They are in the town of Wes Craven. When the friends get to the house one of the guys goes on in a speech explaining how this is a text book horror movie. none of this is done well.
The real carnage is in the story. It is not a problem to start in the middle as the film does. But you have to offer clues and fill in the blanks. If you don’t you just leave the viewer confused. It is unclear the connection between the creatures attacking the friends and Kane Hodder’s Grawesome Crutal. They look similar, but that appears to be lazy design. They are all caked in a white make-up with some scar designs.
The monsters of the film do not seem to have a specific goal or purpose, at least not one the film hints at. Is the setting on St. Patrick’s Day Significant? It does not appear to be. Kane Hodder’s character is lacking any definition. It is as if they hired Hodder on the promise of an iconic Jason type role…and then never actually thought about what they wanted him to be. Leaving Hodder with little to work with beyond being big and imposing.
The timeline is confusing and messy. It is never clear when the time is jumping back. It is a clear attempt to show us something and then see it from a new perspective. But instead of being illuminating? It just leaves it it feeling more confused than before. The film’s lighting works against the film. The lighting is often muddled and resulting in hard to understand pictures. The only time there ever seems to be any attention to lighting is to make sure you can see when the girls are posing.
The film wants to be an eighties throw back, but they seem to think that mainly means “lots of Boobs.” Practically every single actress appears topless or naked. I personally think that is setting the bar low. But when you have Kane Hodder in your horror film and give second billing to a Playboy Playmate who is in about ten minutes of the film? Clearly your film has problems. I realize that horror films in the 80’s actually did that all the time (hyping centerfolds appearing in the film)…but here it just feels like the filmmakers miss the point of “throwback”. 80’s horror tends to have at least a minimal plot.
Muck has somehow garnered a sequel for 2016 called Muck: Feast of St. Patrick. Will it answer the questions? If it does? Probably very badly.