Pick up your hiking gear as we head back into the woods once again! This time for British budget sci-fi horror CAM (contagious aggressive mutations), co-directed by Larry Downing and writer / producer Steph Du Melo. The content is believed to be footage found from a 2013 investigation into an outbreak of infection at a meat processing plant.
This sequence is interspersed with an interview with a medical worker (Michael Swatton) present during the epidemic. A virus allegedly spread by a parasite has infected the meat workers, making them violent and disturbed. The British government cuts off the area and sends soldiers to find survivors. Join them as Jo (Charlotte Curwood) and Kyle (Tom Ware) document what happened.
Since the infected impulsively attack anyone, the soldiers must shoot many of them. The film crew and troops are starting to wonder what’s really going on, as the vaccine given to the survivors doesn’t seem to be working very well. Inevitably horrible things are discovered in the pictures.
“…the vaccine given to survivors doesn’t seem to work… “
While CAM (contagious aggressive mutations) is obviously based on Romero Crazypeople, the runtime is refreshed using the found footage format. The scary parts are all the more so by the style and the eyes of the directors for a good headlong rush. They add a score on the footage, usually a no-no for the format but here explained by the enveloping story. It’s a very good score, a retro-wave synth that makes the weird visuals downright terrifying. There are real leaps to be taken.
That being said, I’ve seen much better budget productions shot in the woods. I have also seen some worse. This one is one of those films where the woody decor is a sign of impoverishment, because it is obviously not appropriate. A meat processing factory in the middle of the woods? Maybe the Druids started making canned meat in the forest eons ago? Maybe Keebler’s elves run a baloney factory in the tree where they make the cookies? I did not buy it.
As well, CAM (contagious aggressive mutations) suffers from the burden of a magnificent poster which is not delivered in the image itself. I spent the entire movie waiting for Long Tongue McGee to show up, expecting her to lick the live shit out of everything. You only get it for a few seconds, then pass screen after screen of quotes that make you think the movie is over, only to be greeted at the end of the interview.
The film’s original copyright dates are 2013 and 2018, although it is slated for a suitable release this year. The subject of the virus is obviously topical, with an argument to be made as to whether this project was prophetic regarding the current pandemic. The quotes used seem to indicate a correlation time and time again. But the effects of the virus are too different, and the suggestions of source and intent are offensive. Some of us have lost loved ones during the current disaster. The point of view taken by this production would be disgusting if one were to take it seriously. Regardless of its curdled positions, CAM (contagious aggressive mutations) is a creepy found footage film and should appeal to primary audiences.