Apr 24, 2009

Plague Town

Deceivingly so, for the benefit of the slasher genre, Plague Town was created by the director of Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth and just about any other exploitation making-of documentary you could point a finger at. With all this experience delving into the making of classics, does his secondhand skill rank up enough for him to create his own bold masterpiece? It is my deepest sorrow to announce "Nay," his film does not withhold the visual promises of a terror soaked foreigners - go - camping - wrong - place - wrong - time scenario that has been imprinted upon the very tome of slasher film 101. Can anyone create this genre anew without fear of retaliation from incompetent viewers and fellow filmmakers alike?

Plague Town's biggest mistake was the entrance of the stepmother/father relationship. Necessary to the story arch, of course, but with the later events that unravel in the film the evolving aura that had blessed the cinematography of Plague Town diminishes to a larvae state and everything that has been worked upon so hard, died off suddenly in a state of emergency that was declared with a blind sense of urgency. It appears that Plague Town decided the build up wasn't worth delaying the actual screen terror so they catapulted our characters into uber-violent and unnerving situations that weren't entirely necessary and upon the slaughtering of the stepmother, you soon realize that everything beautiful about Plague Town died with that dear, sweet lady. Other than the stepmother being used as a pawn to prove a point about the utter stupidity of the female sex in moments of distress, Plague Town employs many subliminal tactics in making you despise anything with a uterus. It seems the men are the only one with any sense at all and in this subversive element of misogyny comes a great deal of entertainment to give Plague Town any credibility at all. I expected more from the first Dark Sky Films production.

To the outstretched arms of anyone that remains excited for campfire horrors in rural communities, Plague Town is the same rehash we've seen over a thousand times. Make no mistake, this film doesn't claim to present new themes or material but If you've seen one reimagining you've seen them all. The presentation allows itself the ability to defy most expectations with a stark image permeating a sense of helplessness and with the help of a spectacular one sheet, Plague Town really appears to be better than it should. But we soon find out with no speculation as to how banal Plague Town really is. Most films have a choice, to speculate on the characters at the heart of the tale or to prime up the antagonists, as many as there are. With nowhere to go other than the route of senseless violence that equates with an ending that evokes strong themes of desperation and female degradation, Plague Town doesn't add up to anything other than a film with an Irish family being hunted by... things? My point exactly.

“Independent horror has always challenged the norm and furthered the genre,” says director/co-screenwriter Gregory. “And Plague Town goes into far more perverse and disturbing territory than the average horror film. The entire cast and crew of Plague Town are not only prepared to push the envelope, but pummel and mutilate it as well.”

For a first time production from the company that has brought us Ils (Them) and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Dark Sky Films has brought us a depressing chapter of "independent" horror. For a project that claims to be perverse, personally, I need more literal evidence to justify these claims. Laying out a plan of forced childbirth and cutting to credits isn't what I'd call "perverse." At least, not in a Dying Breed sort of vein, which indulged itself on the visceral images of violent gang rape which, needless to say, is exciting on par with my fetishistic values.

To jump from casual reviewing standards to snarky self-deceit, Plague Town can measure up to some form of otherworldly entertainment - about as much entertainment as you can extract from watching screaming girls run around in a caked-like darkness and claiming high caliber cinematography. Plague Town doesn't succeed on any ends other than a character study in the mind of a naive bitch. To watch characters ripped from Child's Play 2, Girl, Interrupted, and Legally Blonde engage in scenarios composed from pathless obtrusions with locals and to boast some integrity, leaves me as clueless as a certain film starring Alicia Silverstone. And what's worse is the fact that the only character you root for, the father, disappears while looking for help 20 minutes or so in to never be heard from again. No hint to his demise. He was written out completely. Humility has a discerning title and it is Plague Town.


1 comment:

Sicko Jim said...

Sounds like a festering pile of crap. Nice review though. Thanks for taking one for the proverbial team :)