Get your hiking gear as we are headed back to the woods yet again! This time for the low-budget British sci-fi horror C.A.M. (Contagious Aggressive Mutations), co-directed by Larry Downing and writer/producer Steph Du Melo. The content is purported to be found footage from a 2013 investigation of an infection outbreak at a meat processing plant.
This footage is intercut with an interview with a medical worker (Michael Swatton) present at the outbreak. A virus supposedly spread by a parasite has infected meat workers, making them violent and deranged. The British government sections off the area and sends soldiers to find survivors. Joining them are Jo (Charlotte Curwood) and Kyle (Tom Ware), who are documenting what happened.
As the infected impulsively attack anyone, the soldiers have to shoot a lot of them. The film crew and the troops start wondering what is really going on, as the vaccine being given to the survivors doesn’t seem to work all that well. Inevitably, horrible things are uncovered in the footage.
“…the vaccine being given to the survivors doesn’t seem to work…”
While C.A.M. (Contagious Aggressive Mutations) is obviously grounded in Romero’s The Crazies, the execution is freshened by using the found footage format. The scary parts are made all the more so by the style, and the directors’ eyes for a good creep out. They add a score over the footage, usually a no-no for the format but here explained by the wraparound story. It is a very good score, a retro-wave synth that makes the eerie visuals downright terrifying. There are some real jumps to be had.
That being said, I have seen a lot better low-budget productions filmed in the woods. I have also seen a few worse ones. This one is one of those films where the woodland setting is a badge of impoverishment, as it is obviously not appropriate. A meat processing plant in the middle of the woods? Maybe the druids started making tinned meat in the forest eons ago? Perhaps the Keebler elves run a baloney factory in the tree where they make the cookies? I didn’t buy it.
Also, C.A.M. (Contagious Aggressive Mutations) suffers from the burden of a wonderful poster that isn’t delivered upon in the picture itself. I spent the whole film waiting for Long Tongue McGee to make her appearance, expecting her to lick the living s**t out of everything. You only get it for a few seconds, then off to screen after screen of quotations that make you think the movie has ended, only to be greeted by the end of the interview.
The film’s original copyright dates are 2013 and 2018, though it is slated for a proper release this year. The virus subject matter is obviously timely, with an argument to be made about whether this project was prophetic as to the current pandemic. The quotes used seem to point towards a correlation over and over again. But, the virus effects are too different, and the suggestions of source and intent are offensive. Some of us have lost close loved ones during the current catastrophe. The point of view taken by this production would be disgusting if one were to take it seriously. Regardless of its curdled stances, C.A.M. (Contagious Aggressive Mutations) is a scary found footage movie and should please the core audience.
"…should please the core audience."