A cheesy but enjoyable skinfest in this bloody horror parody

Art-house types can pass Muck right on by without a second look. Muck is an indie horror film that mostly works as a vehicle for its formula of beautiful babes, bloody gore, and cheeky humor. Is it a skin flick masquerading as a horror film? Produced, written, and directed by newcomer Steve Wolsh, the answer may be yes. The very independent film feels distinctly old school, eschewing CGI for practical blood and gore. If college girls running around in skimpy clothing as they get attacked by a group of albino hillbillies sounds like fun, Muck is the film for you.

There are no pretensions in Muck. The film never aspires to be anything but an irreverent horror film with a lot of flesh on display. A nearly random group of five college kids are lost in the marsh of Cape Cod and discover an abandoned home. Random mayhem ensues as they split for various reasons and get attacked by a strange group of albino-looking bodybuilders. What Muck has going for it is that the movie delivers the goods in both blood and flesh. It never strays from its skin flick ambitions, featuring a cast that includes 2012 Playboy Playmate of the Year Jaclyn Swedberg. The “actresses” in Muck have a hard time keeping their clothes fully on, apparently the “creepers” like stripping their victims down to their underwear before chasing them.

It is rental fodder for the horror market, but enjoyable rental fodder

Troit (Lachlan Buchanan) is the nominal star as a conceited guy that gets pulled into the action by his cousin. His token love interest is Chandi, an old friend with an obvious attraction to him. Their banter is cute on some level, and it becomes apparent they will end up together despite Troit bringing along another girl as his date. Muck winks at the audience with its self-awareness of horror tropes and in-jokes. One place is called “West Craven” and horror icon Kane Hodder is brought on to make a brief appearance as the most fearsome creeper. I tend to greatly dislike it when horror films blend with comedy but some of the jokes in Muck are actually pretty funny. It is that humor which elevates Muck above a mindless horror parody.

The story and direction occasionally don’t make sense. There is the distinct impression of a film getting cut together to include every possible scene they had shot, regardless of continuity and logic. That leads to a disjointed collection of scenes, including characters that are introduced and never referenced again. Despite these problems, the humor and sexy mayhem are strong enough to compensate for any perceived issues with the story. The supposed protagonists repeatedly make inexplicable choices, which will likely frustrate some viewers. I lost count of how many times random characters wanted to wander mostly naked through the marsh area near the abandoned home. This is not a film to analyze for steady plot development and conventional screenplay formula.

Muck is probably not a film you’ll want to watch with the wife and kids. It is rental fodder for the horror market, but enjoyable rental fodder with an actual sense of humor to its madness. Genre fans will enjoy its old school ethos and the attractive cast of actresses in various states of undress. It resides in that twilight realm between cheesy Cinemax production and legitimate indie horror.

Movie ★★★★☆

Kane Hodder @ 29:30

For a film likely made on a minuscule budget, Muck looks fantastic. Filmed on the high-end RED Epic digital camera, the 1080P video presentation has outstanding clarity and sharpness. Its cinematography does lack the polish and refinement of better filmmaking, Muck’s compositions are overly cramped with far too many close-ups.

Starz/Anchor Bay provides a solid AVC video encode for the 98-minute film at an average rate of 24.92 Mbps. This is a technically sound Blu-ray presentation taken directly from the pristine digital intermediate, resulting in vivid levels of detail. Interior scenes suffer a fair bit in terms of depth and overall vividness when compared against the immaculate exteriors.

The razor-sharp definition is tempered by its reserved color palette, especially in the darker scenes. There is a slight teal push to the color grading, though flesh-tones remain largely unaffected. Detail remains high most of the time. Shadow delineation however is mildly limited at times. This kind of high-grade digital clarity is a far cry from the days of soft, mushy 16mm film prints a movie of this nature would have been made on thirty years ago. The picture quality is fairly bleak but impressive in its own way.

Video ★★★★★

Careful attention has been paid to the excellent 5.1 surround mix for Muck. The audio comes in a pumped-up 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Featuring plenty of thump and mid-bass, this is an ambient presentation that takes full advantage of the entire 5.1 soundfield. Discrete sound effects, panning, localization, Muck’s audio has it all. While the movie doesn’t feature any nationally known bands, the music is a tasteful mix of Rock and Pop tunes used to great effect. Dialogue is crystal clear, balanced evenly with the big-sounding score and music.

Optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles are provided in a white font. Muck has a big, active soundtrack for an indie horror film and easily one of the best I’ve heard for a production like it.

Audio ★★★★★

Muck includes no supplemental features except this batch of trailers before the main menu.

Starz Horror Promo (01:28 in HD)

Sorority Party Massacre trailer (01:50 in HD)

The Possession of Michael King trailer (02:02 in HD)

The Atticus Institute trailer (01:50 in HD)

Fear Clinic trailer (01:37 in HD)

Extras ☆☆☆☆☆

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For more information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.


Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.

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