Plague Town, written and directed by David Gregory, is an Indie Horror movie that treads familiar ground while offering little in terms of originality. But the quote from Fangoria on the DVD cover was all it took to pique my curiosity: “A nightmare captured on film.”
Check out my review after the jump.
Official Synopsis: The film tells the tale of a dysfunctional family’s vacation to the Irish countryside that encounters a village of diseased, deformed and decidedly homicidal residents.
Plague Town is very similar to The Hills Have Eyes and a near duplication of the (far superior) Australian Horror film Dying Breed. We’ve got a squabbling family on vacation, stranded someplace isolated, descended upon by a population of insane mutants. But unlike these other films, Plague Town offers almost nothing in terms of a backstory.
We know that 15 years ago, a priest in the unnamed rural hamlet was present at the birth of a child. Upon seeing the child, he deems it necessary to execute the infant. The child’s father resists by defying the priest and eliminating the threat he represents. We’re to understand that this is a turning point for this isolated community: Babies deemed “cursed” will no longer be put to death. As for the nature of this “curse” we are given nothing even resembling an explanation. Is the town suffering a supernatural affliction? An environmental catastrophe? Mutations due to inbreeding? This absence of backstory is a clear indication of the film’s lack of depth. Numerous plot holes may be the true curse of Plague Town.
Plague Town also fits neatly into the “Creepy-Kids” subgenre of Horror, a category that includes films like: Village of the Damned, Children of the Corn, Wicked Little Things, and The Children. But Plague Town simply can’t hold a candle to its peers. The problems are plentiful: A bad script, mediocre acting, uneven pacing, and poor execution.
One moment of particular note is when the mother-figure (played by Josslyn DeCrosta) is murdered by a particularly nasty child mutant. She’s beaten to death with a hubcap in a scene steeped in senseless brutality. While we expect violence in our Horror films, this scene still feels especially cold, pointless, and drawn out.
The most interesting character in Plague Town is Rosemary (played by Kate Aspinwall). In the film’s only point of originality, we are presented a mutant who is both terrifying and sexually desirable. We assume she’s the baby who was spared from execution in the films opening scene. Now “of age”, she’s a thin, stately young woman with beautiful flowing hair. She’s mute and blind, wearing a blindfold with adorned with unblinking blue eyes; her skin is so pale it looks like she’s been painted white and her lips are a deep, blood red. She’s a captivating presence, and Aspinwall shines, managing to emote well without words or eyes. Unfortunately, her appearance is not enough to elevate Plague Town from its pit of mediocrity.
What could have been a nice twist ending is dampened by the fact that one of the main characters simply disappears without explanation. This fact isn’t exactly shocking for a movie with no backstory, but it was certainly annoying.
If you want to see a film about creepy kids, check out The Children. If you want to see a great story about an isolated, inbred society, see Dying Breed. Plague Town isn’t a heinous film, but with so many superior offerings, aficionados are advised to seek their thrills elsewhere.
So are the reviewers at Fangoria just liars—or am I getting too old for the films they promote? Either way, Plague Town is a dud.
1 out of 5 Skull Heads.
|Studio||Dark Sky Films|
|Starring||Josslyn DeCrosta, Erica Rhodes, David Lombard, Lindsay Goranson, Elizabeth Bov, James Warke|