The film, out this week on home video, could serve as a student filmmaker’s take-home assignment. When you call, “action,” do everything the opposite of what you see here.
The movie opens with five friends recovering from a swamp encounter, the details of which are kept vague. Two of their pals appear to have died along the way. Now, all the survivors can do is hunker down in an abandoned house, tend to the wounded and find a way to call for help.
Right? Not this quintet.
They’d rather keep on drinking, take long, seductive showers and ignore the fact that their lives are in danger. Let the body count begin.
The genre doesn’t need much more than that, assuming we’re given a passel of scares, quasi-engaging characters and a story that gives us something to snack on.
Nothing doing with “Muck,” a dog of a film that can’t even chase its own tail.
The gratuitous nudity during the opening credits feels exploitative even by the genre’s loosey goosey standards. “Muck” is just getting started. The female stars, including YouTube favorite Lauren Francesca, must parade in a series of thongs in virtually ever scene, a humiliation made worse by the sheer awfulness of the production.
Along the way we’re treated to dialogue like:
“I just saved [your ass]. I can smack it whenever I want,”
“You really like Red Bull, don’t you?” “It gives me wings,” comes the answer.
These lines, the nonstop nudity and total lack of chills could have been played for laughs. There’s always room for another meta-horror movie poking fun at the genre. “Muck” even attempts that approach early on. One wounded character tallies the horror tropes piling up. It’s a sad stab at the “Scream” crowd, but at least it ends quickly.
Writer/director Steve Wolsh gets down to business after that, keeping the tone oppressively somber as if he were making the next “Friday the 13th,” not “Troll 3.”
The characters are uniformly ugly inside, a collection of reality show types obsessed with drinking, sex, sex and drinking. They show little emotion as their friends are slaughtered one by one. When one character leaves the pack to get help, he stops along the way at a frat-style party, flirts with some girls and does a wee bit of drinking in the process.
What a guy!
Since every film has a moment of two worth celebrating, even one as abominable as “Muck,” let’s take stock of what the film gets right:
- The Blu-ray edition allows you to skip the trailers and start the movie right away, a feature many releases lack.
- The film itself is only 90-plus minutes long.
- Every other horror movie coming out this year suddenly looks better by comparison.
- Lauren Francesca’s film career can only go up from here.
- The Blu-ray edition mercifully comes without a director’s commentary, deleted scenes or anything else to extend the experience.
DID YOU KNOW: The minds behind “Muck” ran a successful Kickstarter.com campaign late last year to help fund a prequel to the film. The campaign raised $266, 325 from backers.