More than two years ago, Arbogast over at his wonderful blog, Arbogast on Film, started a floating blog-a-thon entitled, “The One You Might Have Saved,” in which he asked bloggers to come forward with those doomed characters from horror movies whose plight or personality so moved the writer that he or she wished they had the power to breach the fourth wall of cinema and save that person from his or her tragic fate.” Well, he’s issued another call for some more contributions and I thought I’d offer my contribution to the cause.
One character that comes to mind is Casey (Kim Blair) from Mulberry Street (2006), a horror film about the spread of a deadly infection that occurs in New York City thanks to some funky mutated rats chomping on people, turning them into nasty, killer rat-like mutants. Casey is an Iraq War veteran that has finally come home after a tour of duty emotionally and physically scarred. I like how the film introduces her – she’s on a train heading home. She is sitting across from a woman who immediately takes one look at the scar on her face and judges her. Noticing the woman’s reaction, Casey self-consciously takes several locks of her hair and brushes them over her scar. This brief scene makes us instantly empathize with Casey and from there on in we are invested in her story. It is a credit to actress Kim Blair that we identify with her character so quickly and stay with her for the entire film. Unfortunately, she’s only done one other film since Mulberry Street which is too bad because I found her very interesting to watch.
Unfortunately, Casey’s happy reunion with her father, Clutch (Nick Damici), is cut short because of those pesky rat-people and pretty soon they are fighting for their very lives, not just on the streets of Manhattan, but finally at the tenement building on Mulberry Street where he lives. One of the tragedies of the film is that after everything Casey goes through, including seeing her father bitten by a rat-person and then kill himself by jumping to his death, she manages to survive the night along with a teenage boy named Otto (Javier Picayo) on the rooftop of the building only to be killed a la Ben in Night of the Living Dead (1968) when a squad of hazmat suit-clad soldiers (evoking Romero’s The Crazies) mistake her for an infected rat-person and kill her. As if that wasn’t soul-crushing enough, the final image of the film implies that her father wasn’t dead yet and actually saw that his daughter had been killed as evident from a tear streaming down his face.
Whenever I watch this film I put myself in Otto’s place. Why didn’t the kid say something to these soldiers before they took poor Casey out? The girl was obviously too exhausted emotionally and physically to say something. If I had been him, I would have put myself in between her and the soldiers and told them that we weren’t infected. But no, the kid doesn’t say anything, she winds up dead and we are left with a very 1970s, nihilistic bummer of an ending.