A small community based around a swamp in Brazil have to fight the living dead when the swamp gets infected. One survivor has to struggle against these flesh eating ghouls, all while trying to show the woman he loves how he feels. When she gets ill, he seeks help from an old wise lady.
I think director Rodrigo Aragão is well aware of what kind of movie he wanted to make when he set out to make "Mangue Negro". He knows the most important thing in a zombie movie (unless it's "Night of the Living Dead") is gore and fun special effects. It doesn't always have to be perfect effects for it to be a good time either, as proven by "Bone Sickness". Rodrigo has created a pretty typical zombie movie, but has set it in a swamp in Brazil. To make it stand out he has some pretty damn awesome special effects, even if there are flaws. Storywise it brings nothing new to the avid horror viewer. Insert a random infection that turn the dead into zombies, and put a number of survivals in the middle of them. That's exactly what you have here. I honestly don't need much else from them either if it manages to be a good time.
If I would start with the flaws in this movie, I would say they are almost only technical issues. I feel the editing wasn't done carefully enough as the look of the film changes heavily between scenes/shots. Colors, brightness, contrasts, all that. It's not often that I care about something like that, but here it actually bothered me. You are suddenly taken out of the film every time, as it almost make you wonder if it's a different movie. Except for that, I felt that they did some poor greenscreen work at the end of the movie, when they are on a high ground and have the entire jungle behind them. It was too choppy and obviously greenscreen. But the film has some good greenscreen work too, in the special effects.
As I said, the effects are fantastic in this movie. I love them. The zombies are gnarly, the blood is dark and messy, the effects overall are very inventive. This is where I think "Braindead" played a big part in the making of the film. Much like "Braindead" you don't just get typical wounded zombies. You get heads crawling on the floor, zombies without a jaw, and some very skeletal zombies. It's just a hoot to watch, to be honest. Now, the zombies that needed a greenscreen aren't used perfectly, but I loved it all the same. The entire film was just entertainment to me, and it features many awesome zombies and plenty of gore. Do you need much else?
"Mangue Negro" is a fine addition to the zombie genre, it let's you forget what has happened to the zombie genre in the mainstream for a while. If you love independent zombie films like "Braindead", "Bone Sickness", "Undead" or even some of the older Italian ones, this might be up your alley... or should I say "swamp"? It's also not taking itself too serious, as it has plenty of comedic dialogue and characters. However I think some comedy was lost in translation, so if you speak Portuguese you might think it's hilarious. "Mangue Negro" seems very inspired by "Braindead" and "Evil Dead", but only in the good sense. Most importantly, it knows that body parts are there to chop off.