Plague Town

"OK"

Plague Town Review


Some say that horror films are a good way for audiences to experience uncomfortable emotions and feelings within the confines of a safe cinematic experience. Others argue that they're excellent examples of quick buck enterprises for producers looking to cut out the moviemaking middleman and rake in some dough. But the truth is far more complicated. Horror is actually the catch-all of creative endeavors. It houses hacks and true visionaries, letting everyone swim in its paranormal pool even though more than a few drown in its unsupervised waters. Take Plague Town, for example. This mutant-killer kid effort has atmosphere and dread in abundance. What it doesn't have, however, is a reason to care for the victims of these particularly bedeviled brats.

Dr. Jerry Monohan (David Lombard) has brought his fiancé Annette (Lindsay Goranson) and his bickering daughters Jessica (Erica Rhodes) and Molly (Josslyn DeCrosta) to the middle of nowhere, Britain, to retrace some arcane family roots. With Mr. Right Now boyfriend Robin (James Warke) along to keep Jess happy, the quintet wander into a barren area where locals warn them of impending danger. Of course, they ignore such portents and instead try to work out their massive interpersonal issues as night falls and the last bus back to civilization leaves. Lost in the wilderness, they stumble upon an abandoned car. Eventually, each member of our party runs into a group of ghastly children, faces disfigured and brains bent on murdering them all -- all except the girls, that is. Apparently, there's a plan for their fertile young bodies....

Like an inept guy with the best intentions and no real way of realizing them, Plague Town is a movie that battles with itself constantly until enjoyment concedes to the erratic for final entertainment domination. Up until the hour mark, the fairly effective film, directed by DVD-added-content specialist David Gregory, lumbers along on a wonderful visual mood and unsettling aural ambience. Applying everything from low moans to distant cries as part of the soundtrack, the filmmaker does a great job of delivering on the possibility of terror. He even comes through in the blood department, gory decapitations and face wounds amplifying an already palpable level of dread. But as most masters of macabre will tell you, mood can only sustain you for so long. Without a sensible story (or at the very least, a stab at same), you'll test the audience's patience instead of their nerves.

It's in the explanation department that Plague Town really fails. We never learn exactly why the Monohans don't get along, why Goth gal daughter Molly is so doom and gloomy, why Jessica is such a witch (and why she chooses to hang out with soccer hooligan-in-training Robin), and what happened to their real mother. They're so angry, so selfish, and so outwardly hurtful to each other that we don't wish for their safety. Instead, we beg for their deaths. Similarly, the small town raising up a clan of wicked wee ones never gets its mid-point exposition. There's a reference about breeding out some disease "like they do with rabbits," but that's it. Everything else is inference and supernatural skullduggery.

Clarity would have made this movie a whole lot better. True personal motivation and a conciseness of character would also have helped. The make-up effects and arterial spray are pretty good, and the appearance of "Rosemary," fake eyes staring blindly from her dead doll façade, is truly unsettling. But the rewards of this film are so few and far between that, in the end, we wind up feeling underwhelmed, not frightened. Plague Town had its chance. Sadly, it couldn't come through when it really needed to deliver the fear.



Plague Town

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd April 2009

Distributed by: Dark Sky Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 4.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Daryl Tucker, Derek Curl

Starring: Josslyn DeCrosta as Molly Monohan, Erica Rhodes as Jessica Monohan, David Lombard as Jerry Monohan, Lindsay Goranson as Annette Rothman, James Warke as Robin, Catherine McMorrow as Agnes Brawney, Elizabeth Bove as Sheila, Michael Donaldson as Chap, Hope Alexander as Female Attack Kid #3, Kate Aspinwall as Rosemary, Peter Berges as Seeker, Daniel Martin Berkey as Hanneman, Roisin Donnelly as Mrs. Flynn, Paul Drechsler-Martell as Smiler / Windhsield Kid, Emma Dubery as Young Mother

Also starring:

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