DIRECTED BY: Jorge Delarosa, Wyl Price, Jim Johnson
FEATURING: Mike Akers, Hank Fiorini, Susan Martin, Lauren Ashley Carter
PLOT: FBI agent Stephanie Bellman—a man, by the way, and a sex addict—investigates some
very strange goings on in the sleepy burg of Mantua, Ohio, all of which seem to involve “The Organic Ones,” a murderous cult who are “harvesting” the earth’s “weeds,” i.e. the undesirable people polluting the planet.
COMMENTS: Mantua is the brainchild of the artist collective The Slow Mutants, based in NE Ohio. Comprised of 3 short films Black,” “Green,” and “Red,” with connective tissue added, the movie is fitfully entertaining in spots but the execution is just too amateurish to fully recommend. Which is too bad, because there’s just enough here to prove that there is some talent involved. The story suggests a variation on “Twin Peaks,” but even more tweaked and off-center. It’s not boring, and that’s the film’s biggest strength. What tries one’s patience, however, is the level of the performances and the backyard quality of the production which sandbag the ambitiousness of the project.
It’s not without merit—there’s no ineptness on display here. In my opinion, it’s more a matter of the filmmakers having bitten off more than they could chew at the time. As their craft improves, the final results will too—hopefully. In fact, I’d like to see them reboot this after they get a few more projects under their belts. Until that time, if you can sit through a comedic “Twin Peaks” variation with public access TV production values, give Mantua a try. But first, you might want to take a look at their upcoming punk rock documentary Gangrene, for some perspective.
Copies may be ordered via e-mail from the Slow Mutants Home Page.