Listen, I’m all for Z-grade horror debauchery, but only when it’s crafted with a modicum of respect for the genre. That is not this movie.
Muck ATTEMPTS to reinvigorate an ultra-sexpot subgenre from sleazier times, but filmmaker Steve Wolsh couldn’t have missed the bullseye more if he were blind-folded and handcuffed. All we get is a perverted excuse to parade around Playboy Playmates in little-to-no clothes at all, as the camera blatantly focuses its attention on tits, ass, and the occasional flash of bro abs. You’d think there’d be some sort of story hidden beneath the murky waters of Muck, but I assure you it doesn’t exist – that would take away from the lengthy montages of sexy, helpless models who are forced to helplessly shamble around in a swamp for what seems like hours. It’s kind of like watching Skinemax, except without the gratuitous sex. What’s the point, right?
According to the synopsis for Muck, it follows a group of vacationing bros and brahs who “narrowly escape an ancient burial ground,” only to “find themselves trapped between two evils, forcing them to fight, die, or go back the way they came.” But none of this information is conveyed very clearly, and based on my viewing alone, the film is about said bros and brahs regrouping after some sort of attack, breaking into a vacation home, getting SUPER naked, and then dying at the hands of cultists(?). Native swamp people? Cocaine-addicts covered in their own product? Seriously, I still don’t know.
Muck is a “throwback” horror flick with the cheapest intentions, as Wolsh gets caught up in this hyper-sexualized mindset that ensures each and every scene exposes the most amount of flesh possible. It’s a wannabe softcore porno that doesn’t have the balls to go all-the-way, finding ways to expose slowly-disrobing women whenever possible. You’ll see perky female features jiggle like jello molds in just about every setting imaginable, from creepy abandoned sheds to weed-infested swamps, but one constant remains – a girl will always be wearing nothing but tight, barely-there undergarments. Hell, there’s even more than one scene where girls get naked in a dive bar’s dingy lavatory, because apparently that’s what chicks do in there. They get butt-ass naked, change entire ensembles, and put on little fashion shows for the mirror that include pouty faces, seductive tit-grabbing, and perfect poses.
There is a brief moment when Muck introduces a metaphysical acknowledgement of its own cinematic surroundings, but it’s a boorishly short-lived victory. Upon addressing their current situation, Billy (Grant Alan Ouzts) goes into a mini-monologue about how they’re stuck in a horror movie – a Scream-esque turn that reveals when each character will die based on their obvious stereotypes. He jokes about the ditzy sex-pot dying first, then points to himself as #2 on the list because of severe injuries, and then calls the hero Han Solo. For that brief moment, I thought Muck would turn into something fun, jovial, and hilariously self-referential.
Then Wolsh insults Wes Craven, and it’s back to square one. Clever. Name your town West Craven, and then have a character say “If it’s some boring Wes(t) Craven shit…” No, random fratty character #4, you do NOT get to make fun of Wes Craven given your own sad circumstance.
As far as horror is concerned, Muck is more worried about Red Bull product placement (“It gives me wings!”) and girls being hosed down by sprinklers. It’d be one thing if ANY girl met a horrific demise when flaunting her sexuality (one does, without explanation), but 99% of the strip-teases end with no payoff, which drives home a very manipulative annoyance. It’s objectification for the sake of objectification, and nothing else. There are a few brutal deaths, but most are only confusing and unwarranted – and that’s after the attackers tear every girl’s top to shreds. A car flips over in one scene without ANYONE touching it. It just flips and crushes people. Why. WHY. Hell, there’s not even a single jump-scare, and that’s a rookie maneuver at this point.
Muck is a deceptive wolf in sheep’s clothing – a skeevy sexual fantasy disguised as a witty backwoods slasher. There are cultists, but their motivations are never properly explained, and while there are gruesome kills, without any ties to the victims, each death becomes more wasteful than the next. Muck even has a cameo appearance from Kane Hodder, which you wouldn’t know without his name being plastered on every promotional message for the film. Eh. When in doubt, zoom in on jiggling breasts. Yeah! That’s the answer!
The only way to enjoy Muck is to play my newly invented “Muck: The Drinking Game.” The rules are simple: drink every time a character is wearing their underwear or less. This should have you blacking out pretty quickly, and you’ll be saved from sitting through another misguided “horror” bore that focuses on all the wrong elements. “You’ll be fine! You’ve got half naked chicks and booze!” No, character whose name I forget because none of them matter – there’s no escaping this abomination.
Muck isn't a horror movie - it's a wannabe skinflick that would ignore an on-screen kill if the actress' breasts were jiggling in the slightest. Because bewbz!