Review – Plague Town
Plague Town (2008, directed by David Gregory from his script with John Cregan; Dark Sky Films, DVD release May 12) got under my skin, and I’m not really sure why.
There are times the story doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The acting veers wildly from amateurish to extremely naturalistic, sometimes in the same scene. The low budget shows in the special effects. The father looks like George Clooney.
And yet the movie’s creepy mood, its gory set-pieces, the family dynamics and especially the frighteningly bizarre look of the creepy girl at the centre of Plague Town all worked.
A hapless American family – a father, a step-mom, two bickering, rivalrous sisters Molly and Jessica (realistically played by Josslyn DeCrosta and Erica Rhodes), and Molly’s just-picked-up Irish boyfriend Robin (James Warke) – get lost in the middle of nowhere, Ireland. By nightfall the family is being tormented and toyed with by the malicious children of the nearby “plague town” of the title. Needless to say, the protagonists are trapped in one nightmarish situation after another; what happens to Dad (David Lombard) is especially gruesome. The eeriest moment though is when Robin, the Irish boyfriend, is trapped in a house with a mom and her plague-infested daughter (the type of girl even Marilyn Manson wouldn’t bring home to mom).
I don’t want to say too much about this one, because horror works best when, like the characters, you don’t know what’s next. But Plague Town, along with movies like Rec and Martyrs, have me convinced that the best, most daring world cinema is happening in the horror genre. Plague Town isn’t in the same league as Martyrs, but it lingers.
Next: bring on Dead Snow, and its Nazi zombies.