Friday, February 19, 2021


John R. Bowey

A medical company hires a new security guard after one 'vanishes'. David Allen (Brion James) is the new hire but he is also a highly trained scientist who is investigating the company. He comes to find out that genetic mutants are running free in the building and only he and a band of security guards know what is going on. Can they escape before they become cat food?

Mutator is yet another in a long string of Alien (1979)/Aliens (1986) oh, let us say inspired films. A group of people are trapped in a location and must get from point A to point B while monsters roam the air ducts and occasionally snatch unsuspecting people. It is a well-worn formula and that is because it works… mostly. A lot of these movies are terrible. Mutator is also terrible but it has three things that make it interesting. 

1) The Building

I am an aficionado of brutalism and a large portion of mutator takes place in a cool brutalist space. The whole evil corporation looks more like a haunted mall and it gives parts of the movie a low-key vaporwave vibe.  Other settings are interesting industrial spaces that are a step above the typical drab factories that plague many movies. More importantly, it’s all lit so that you can see it. This film is almost entirely shot on location which means the filmmakers didn’t feel the need to hide shoddy sets in the dark.

2) The Monsters

Let me be upfront, you never get to see the monsters in full view. What do you see is amazing. Pale furry boot/claws, ripped abs, and cute little paws. These aren’t just any old rubber monsters, these are giant mutant kitty cats! It’s a shame we really don’t get to see them do anything until the 45-minute mark and even then they are relegated to quick cuts and POV shots.

3) Brion James

You probably know Brion James from the dozens of roles where he is a bad guy. One of his most famous roles is as the replicant,  Leon Kowalski in Blade Runner (1982). He’s a big guy with a unique look and he was typecast as a heavy his whole life. So, it is a special treat to see him here as the hero, and not only that, he’s a scientist who uses his training to fight off the monsters. Mutator stops short of giving him a full-on romance plot but it comes closer than I expected. Brion James fans this your film.

These are the highlights of a movie that makes a lot of mistakes and by all rights should be a complete failure. I see its value really for people who are fans of low-budget movies, their culture, and their nuances, anyone in it to see a competent horror-action move is going to be very disappointed. There are some silly things for the joy of bad movie fans but probably not enough to keep them engaged.

If Brion James vs. The Thundercats sounds like your thing. Check it out. 

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