I learned something after watching MUCK that I wish I had known beforehand: this film is the first of a trilogy. Had I known that prior, I would have enjoyed the experience much more so. Why? Primarily because the ending would not have infuriated me as much. Now, don’t get me wrong: I really enjoyed the film overall. It’s made well and shot on a RED camera, so it looks great onscreen. But, there are a few things about it that I feel need to be addressed.
If you are not familiar with MUCK, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment:
This throwback horror film just raised the hacked-up bar: Horror legend Kane Hodder and Playboy Playmate of the Year 2012, Jaclyn Swedberg star in this scary, sexy, indie shocker that joins a group of friends just as they emerge from the thick, murky darkness of the marshes tattered, bloody, and lucky to be alive. But they will soon find out that the lucky ones are already dead. Muck is packed with old-school gore effects and brutal stunts, without any CGI or apologies. Lachlan Buchanan (Pretty Little Liars) co-stars in writer/director Steve Wolsh’s searing directorial debut that unfolds like a blood-stained love letter to horror fanatics everywhere!
Judging from some of the other reviews I’ve read on MUCK, this is one of those films you either love or hate. Public opinion seems to be pretty evenly mixed. Interestingly, I find myself in the middle. I really enjoyed certain aspects of the film…however, I also did not like certain things as well.
MUCK is shot well and looks amazing onscreen. As I mentioned, it’s filmed on a RED camera, so the film quality is excellent. This is important to note, as most of the film takes place at night. On lesser cameras, the image is grainy or too dark to see. Here, the picture shines in all of its HD glory.
The acting in MUCK is also a high note. Granted, it’s not superb, but the cast still does a good job in their portrayals. I always enjoy seeing Kane Hodder onscreen, and he delivers as expected. But I also particularly like Lachlan Buchanan’s performance as Troit, the smart-ass cousin of the character Noah. Buchanan does a stellar job with his role, and I’m glad to see he’s going to be in the sequel.
The special effects in MUCK are amazing. The film boasts all practical effects (no CG here!), and the result is a supremely satisfying and entertaining gore-fest. I commend the production team for insisting on practicals, as it makes the horror so much more believable.
But for all of its positives, there are several glaring negatives. First and foremost is the storyline, or more specifically, the lack of information in the storyline. The film starts off right after a harrowing incident in the marsh. The audience is not told what has transpired, but I assumed we would find out later on in the film. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The group shows up to a house and then starts getting attacked. But whom or what, we have no idea. This would have been fine, IF we had eventually discovered what was going on. I’m assuming we have to wait until the sequel(s) to see.
Another big sticking point for me is the ending. Even if I had known this was part of a trilogy, I still would have been upset with it. Abrupt is too mild of a word to describe it. The film just…ends. I actually yelled at my TV when the credits started.
Still, MUCK does have quite a bit of entertainment value as a whole. I actually do recommend the film, as it has A LOT of potential, and I can see a whole franchise series stemming from it. The film is available now in a variety of formats if you decide to give it a look.