They hide in alleyways. They live in the walls. You can hear them behind the plaster and in the subway tunnels. They are rats… and they are rat-people.
The apartment on Mulberry Street is going to be redeveloped so its tenants are being evicted. An eclectic group of friendly neighbors, they assist and care for each other. Clutch (Nick Damici) is an ex-boxer and building help-all. Upon returning from his daily run, he receives a message from his daughter announcing she is coming home from the veteran’s hospital. However, her homecoming is hindered by various rat attacks throughout the city. To make matters worse, all those who are bitten become infected, flesh-eating monsters.
The opening chaos is limited to newscast descriptions and a couple of images of singular attacks; meanwhile, the newly infected just look clammy and ill. As an exercise in terror, this was not very effective. A visual threat should have been established earlier in the film, rather than circling the horror for 45 minutes. Nonetheless, when the action does get going, it is enjoyable. The spirited characters once again prove the best weapons in crisis are a frying pan and the hands with which you were born.
A lot of time is spent on character development, creating a relationship between the audience and on-screen personalities. This effort, however, makes the attempts at forcing emotion through music and stylistic changes unnecessary.
In an attempt to avoid being a “cookie-cutter” “zombie” flick, director/co-writer Jim Mickle and co-writer Dimici set the film in the city rather than the suburbs and allow most of their characters dignified deaths as opposed to death by cannibalism. Furthermore, the ending is somewhat inconclusive and far from happy.
A “lo-fi do-it-yourself homegrown movie,” all the apartment interiors were shot undetectably in Dimici’s apartment, which was redressed and repainted for each location.
The filmmakers seem to be afraid audiences will forget the title of the film, repeatedly filling the screen with the Mulberry Street sign. Unfortunately for them, their fears may be valid.