I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this film. From what I could initially find on it, I could only assume it was an independently made film, obviously foreign (from the title) and could very well suck ass.
But it didn’t.
The story of Mangue Negro (aka: Mud Zombies, but I’m sure it’s probably supposed to be Mangrove Zombies, but I’m no language expert) is as thus:
“One day, in a fishermen and hunters’s community, as poor and as timeless it can be, nature decides to show it’s macabre side. From the mangrove swamp, where they get the wretched sustenance, Cannibal zombies emerge. Nobody knows the cause of this “contamination”. The important thing is to run and survive, to run again. With every bite, parents, friends and brothers, become awful creatures.
In front of a horror that doesn’t move back, not even with the daylight, that doesn’t exempt fish or crustaceans, an obstinate and fearful survivor is revealed, skillful with the axe and terrible when the moment comes to declare to the brunet who makes his heart beat.” (taken from http://www.manguenegro.com)
The movie opens with a couple of locals boating down a stretch of water, the old man babbling on about how the waters used to be teaming with life, and his companion looking bored as all hell since he’s heard these stories a hundred times. Then we switch to a crab hunter, plodding through the mud trying to find the last elusive crabs. He also manages to come across a dead body. Which is nice. Next we’re introduced to Luis, one of the main characters in the movie, who has a crush on the local hottie, Rachel. Rachel lives with her infirm parents in a small wooden shack, her mother is bed ridden, and her father is in a wheelchair. The local crab buyer visits Rachels dad to get his new stash and we find that the crab hunter is actually Rachel’s brother. Unfortunately, Rachel’s brother has, not only just lost a stash of crabs, but met some local undead folk.
Rachel’s brother, scratched and mauled to pieces, ends up at Luis’ place where he talks about being attacked by dead people. He, of course, dies and becomes the first undead that we see, and let me tell you, he’s not the slow lumbering zombie of yesteryear, by jiminy no, he’s an aggressive big bastard who rips his way through a door with his bare hands!
The two fishermen that we met first, have a bit of a run in with zombies and the old man with the same stories, ends up meeting with Luis and Rachel and the trio have to try and escape their zombie ridden mangrove swamp.
The acting isn’t exactly Oscar winning, but I couldn’t give a rats ass about that, the story is good, the effects are excellent for this being a cheap movie from Brazil and there’s no CGI! Hooray!
Effects range from aging makeup, I’m quite sure the two old women in the film are probably played by men, through to the obvious zombie makeup, but there’s also some nice animatronic zombie stuff, a zombie who seems to be controlled muppet-style, and even a touch of good ol’ stop-motion animation! YAAYYY!
The effects themselves are carried out nicely and there’s enough blood here to satisfy the more gore hungry viewers. There’s plenty of head-shots and limb chopping.
In the camera department, there’s a fair bit of shaky-cam, but it’s not too much – it’s used to great effect in zombie chase/attack sequences to give the viewer a sense of panic. Excellent touch. The colours are nice too, with nice lighting in most places.
This is a cracking independent movie that deserves all the attention it gets. It uses good, old fashioned, effects and to good effect.
Official website (English version): http://www.manguenegro.com/english/Default.aspx
(the Video section has several ‘making of’ clips)
Mangue Negro trailer: