×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mulberry Street

Yes Blanche, there are rats in the cellar, but that's not the only place they're congregating in tyro helmer Jim Mickle's zombie-rat low budgeter "Mulberry Street." Presented as an eco-horror thriller, with the nasty rodents symbolizing creeping gentrification, pic puts aside any grand aspirational social overtones but does stay true to a post-9/11 paranoia that feels surprisingly genuine. What really sets it apart from the usual rat scarefest is the gritty feel for the kind of close-knit Manhattan tenement living that's been all but gnawed away. Cult status should accrue in Gotham proper, though most biz will come from ancillary.

With:
With: Nick Damici, Antone Pagan, Sarah Dickinson, Heidi Peterson, Jim Heater, Lou Torres, Tim House, Larry Fleischman, Bo Corre, Ron Brice, Kim Blair, Rodney Gray, Javier Picayo, Larry Medich.

Yes Blanche, there are rats in the cellar, but that’s not the only place they’re congregating in tyro helmer Jim Mickle’s zombie-rat low budgeter “Mulberry Street.” Presented as an eco-horror thriller, with the nasty rodents symbolizing creeping gentrification, pic puts aside any grand aspirational social overtones but does stay true to a post-9/11 paranoia that feels surprisingly genuine. What really sets it apart from the usual rat scarefest is the gritty feel for the kind of close-knit Manhattan tenement living that’s been all but gnawed away. Cult status should accrue in Gotham proper, though most biz will come from ancillary.

At first not an obvious choice for rising shingle Belladonna — which couldn’t have put much into the very limited kitty — the pic’s interest in character and tone, though often little more than shorthand notations, makes it a cut above most zero-budget horrors. Co-scripter Nick Damici plays ex-boxer Clutch, a no-nonsense guy whose unassuming air masks a paternalistic concern for his neighbors on the Lower East Side.

On a hot summer’s day Clutch’s soldier daughter Casey (Kim Blair) is heading home after a stint in Iraq. But there’s a rat problem afoot: throughout the city, mutant rodents are attacking humans, who are transformed into rat-like zombies. When public transportation comes to a halt, Casey still has most of Manhattan to cross. As the streets increasingly fill with suppurating monsters, a simple trek becomes no ordinary walk in the park.

Mickle, a storyboard artist and lighting technician, has a mature understanding of construction, nicely shifting back and forth between Casey’s journey and the residents on Mulberry Street. It’s not all serious, of course, and the script allows for plenty of gross-out humor plus the usual head-butting heroics, but there’s something more ambitious going on.

First are the none-too-subtle swipes aimed at conglomerate landlords buying up apartment buildings and pricing the lower-middle-class out of the city. Then there’s the unexpectedly downbeat ending, a real sign of these post-9/11 times. Mickle and Damici aren’t entirely sure how much they want to stick to a good old-fashioned zombie flick (in some ways reminiscent of the recent “Black Sheep”) and how much they want to devote to paranoid commentary, though as genre fans, they’ve generally favored the former.

Characterization suffers from the imbalance: Tenement residents such as drag queen Coco (Ron Brice) and single mom Kay (the excellent Bo Corre) are initially presented as real people we’ll care about, but there’s no time to develop them when mutant rats are attacking.

Location work throughout the Big Apple is well handled, while the art department shows impressive ingenuity utilizing Damici’s own apartment for all the residential interiors. Camera movements can be excessive, possibly to prevent auds from scrutinizing the results of the super-low budget.

Mulberry Street

Production: A Belladonna Prods. production, in association with Bulldog Films. Produced by Linda Moran, Adam Folk. Executive producers, Tim House, Victor Assante. Directed, edited, by Jim Mickle. Screenplay by Nick Damici, Mickle.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Ryan Samul; music, Andreas Kapsalis; production designer, Beth Mickle; art director, Danny Perez; costume designer, Vonia Arslanian; sound, Louis Bertini, Mickle; assistant director, Aaron Dunsay. Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival (Midnight), May 1, 2007 (Also in SXSW Film Festival). Running time: 84 MIN.

With: With: Nick Damici, Antone Pagan, Sarah Dickinson, Heidi Peterson, Jim Heater, Lou Torres, Tim House, Larry Fleischman, Bo Corre, Ron Brice, Kim Blair, Rodney Gray, Javier Picayo, Larry Medich.

More Film

  • UGC Distribution Closes on Mariano Cohn’s

    Ventana Sur: UGC Distribution Closes Market Hit ‘4 x 4’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — UGC Distribution has beaten out all other suitors to clinch what had became by Friday morning the most anticipated deal of this year’s Ventana Sur market: All rights to France on Argentine Mariano Cohn’s “4 x 4,” sold by Latido Films and distributed throughout Argentina by Disney. After mounting speculation about which [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    Film News Roundup: 'Aquaman' Hits $152 Million at International Box Office

    In today’s film news roundup, “Aquaman” has already grossed more than $150 million outside the U.S., Michael Masini joins “Birds of Prey,” and Freestyle buys the documentary “Shamanic Trekker.” BOX OFFICE Warner Bros.’ tentpole “Aquaman” has taken in $152 million overseas in 36 markets, with $135 million of that from China, where it opened on [...]

  • 'Winter's Night' Review: Enigmatic, Offbeat Korean

    Tallinn Film Review: 'Winter's Night'

    There are thousands of films about love’s beginning, and a great many about love’s end. But far fewer deal with a relationship’s late-middle: the spreading, sluggish delta of coupledom when decades of familiarity, if they have not bred contempt, at least threaten irritation. “Winter’s Night,” Jang Woo-jin’s playfully melancholic third feature, after the acclaimed “A [...]

  • Tomasz Kot UTA

    UTA Signs ‘Cold War’ Star Tomasz Kot (EXCLUSIVE)

    UTA has signed “Cold War” star Tomasz Kot. He has appeared in more than 30 films and 26 plays as well as dozens of television series. Most recently, Kot has received award-season buzz for his starring role as Wiktor in Pawel Pawlikowski’s feature “Cold War” for Amazon. The project has earned him a nomination for [...]

  • Kenneth Branagh's 'All Is True' Opening

    Kenneth Branagh's 'All Is True' Opening Palm Springs Film Festival

    The 30th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival will open on Jan. 3 with historical drama “All Is True,” starring Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, and Ian McKellen. Branagh, who will be in attendance at the opening night screening, directed from Ben Elton’s script about the little-known period in the final years of William Shakespeare. Branagh [...]

  • Actor and Activist Rodney Kageyama Dies

    Actor and Activist Rodney Kageyama Dies at 77

    Actor, activist and influentials member of the Japanese American community, Rodney Kageyama, died in his sleep Dec. 9. He was 77. The SAG member was known for roles in “Karate Kid IV” with Hillary Swank, Ron Howard’s film “Gung Ho” and the spinoff sitcom, and the TV movie “Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes” with Max [...]

  • Most Popular Films 2018: The Best

    9 Holiday Gift Ideas Inspired by This Year's Most Popular Films

    From superheroes to super nannies, 2018 was a year full of memorable characters — and memorable movies. Whether you’re a big film buff, an avid follower of a popular franchise, or have a couple movie fans in your life, here are nine gifts that capture the fun of some of this year’s biggest films. 1. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content