After narrowly escaping an ancient burial ground, long forgotten and buried underneath the marshes of Cape Cod, a group of friends emerge from the thick, marshy darkness, tattered and bloody, lucky to be alive. They have already lost two of their friends in the marsh, presumably dead. They stumble upon an empty Cape Cod vacation house alongside the foggy marsh and break in to take shelter. Whatever was in the marsh is still after them and soon after one of them goes for help, the rest of the group learns that the evil in the marsh is not the only thing that wants them dead. Something worse, something more savage, was lying in wait just outside the marsh, in the house.
What happens next is unspeakable horror that cannot be unseen. These unlucky travelers spend their St. Patrick's Day trapped between two evils forcing them to fight, die, or go back the way they came. Shot in state-of-the-art 4K Ultra HD resolution, Muck is packed with old-school effects, shocks – and yes, breasts – that stick with you, creating terror without the use of CGI.
“Oh, Hi! Hello Boobs!” - Actual quote from this movie.
Bad movies get made every year. Big budget, small budget, some things just don’t turn out for a movie and they end up in the cinematic waste bin and are forgotten. Some movies turn out so bad they become legendary. Movies like ‘The Room’ for instance. In spite of Tommy Wiseau’s assertions that it’s supposed to be a black comedy, you can tell that it’s actually a heart-felt dramatic-thriller that turned out badly yet remains infinitely entertaining. Then you have ‘Muck,’ a movie that is so genuinely bad it’s hard to figure if the outcome was intentional or not.
The movie opens with half naked Mia, Lauren Francesca, emerging from the weeds crying out in terror for help. Kind of a cool start to the movie, but then she keeps calling out and doing nothing for a solid five minutes when finally two of her friends Billy, Grant Alan Ouzts and Noah, Bryce Draper, emerge from the weeds. Billy has been badly injured and is in need of a doctor or he’s going to bleed out. Following the two men are Desiree, Laura Jacobs, and Kylie, Stephanie Danielson. Delirious with fright, the group of friends plow forward through the muck until they find a dark, and seemingly abandoned house.
Desperate to find safety, the group breaks into the home to regroup and find a way out of the mess they’re in. While Noah runs out into the dark to find help, Billy, even though he’s bleeding profusely, decides there’s no time like the present to get drunk. Kylie does the smart thing and search for supplies or a working phone. Mia takes a nap while Terra takes a shower. Now before I continue, I want to take a moment to say I’m not being intentionally snarky in this writeup - this is literally what happens in the first 27 of 98 minutes in this movie. And then Mia wakes up and takes a shower herself.
Things finally get going at around minute 32 when Grawesome Crutal, a bald and creepy Kane Hodder, starts dispatching the survivors one by one. At least I think it’s Kane Hodder, it appears later that there are several of these guys and they all look the same, so it’s anyone’s guess which one is the ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Hatchet’ franchises’ iconic monster man. When Noah finally manages to get to a phone and call for help, he calls his cousin Troit (yes that is his name) who doesn’t want to travel out to “West Craven” to help him because “that place used to be cool” and it isn’t anymore. If your eyes aren’t rolling by this point they probably should be. Troit gathers his little group of friends and they head out to help his cousin adding to the naked breast and dead body count.
‘Muck’ declares itself a throwback to horror returning to practical stunt work and makeup and gore effects. If that’s genuinely true - the effort was wasted. Yeah, Kane Hodder is here, somewhere, but since you can’t really tell which of these bald, pale white monsters in black pants is him, it’s hard to get excited at a name in the credits. Editing is also a rather huge problem here as cuts and scene breaks connect at all the wrong places leading to reputation of dialogue and some severe continuity issues. Then you have the performances, of which there isn’t a single genuinely decent actor in the bunch. Add in the extremely misogynist treatment of it’s frequently nude female cast and you have perhaps one of the single worst horror films I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot so that bar was already pretty low.
It’s true that some movies are so bad they can be very entertaining because of the unintentional comedic results. ‘Muck’ on the other hand fails at being scary and is even less successful at being funny; intentionally or otherwise.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
‘Muck’ makes it’s Blu-ray arrival on a BD25 disc courtesy of Anchor Bay. Housed in a standard Blu-ray case, the disc opens through a battery of trailers for other Anchor Bay releases. The main menu is a flash of loud music that plays over clips from the movie.
Shot digitally in 4K, ‘Muck’ is given a middling 1.85:1 1080p HD transfer. With it’s digital origins, detail comes through for the most part with great clearity in spite of a few scenes that look overly soft and very "video." This transfer gets strong marks for black levels and shadows, leading to an inky black image that while constantly dark, still offers a lot of depth. As for a showcase for blood and gore - this transfer works very well giving the blood and guts a lot of clarity to appreciate. While this is a dark movie to say the least, colors are given a lot of pop and flesh tones appear spot on.
‘Muck’ is given an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that has a lot of effort put into its rich and creepy sound design. From the opening shot through to the finish, ambient sounds fill each scene helping add some nice atmosphere to a movie that unfortunately make much use of it. Dialogue comes through with fantastic clarity keeping to the center channels - especially when the action ramps up and the heavy soundtrack track begins to overpower the scene. Splattering and squishy gore sounds have plenty of moments to shine through as wounds are poked and axes are slammed into bodies giving the surround channels a fun work out.
No extra features present.
Ever the pragmatist, going into ‘Muck’ I didn’t have high expectations that this would be the horror event film of the ages by any stretch. I’d heard it was a tough watch and that in the right mindset you could have fun with it, so I was hoping ultimately for something at least a little bit entertaining or something in that “so bad it’s good” way. ‘Muck’ is not fun. It’s not scary. It’s not funny. It shouldn’t even be a movie. When the movie’s main draw is Kane Hodder and you can’t even tell who he is, this movie loses its last ounce of redeeming value. At least in my point of view. With a strong HD presentation and a fine Dolby 5.1 track, ‘Muck’ wins some Blu-ray points. However, without any extra features of any kind - I can’t recommend this one for picture and audio quality alone. If you need a good new horror movie, pick up a copy of ‘Late Phases.’ Skip ‘Muck.’