Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
A severely dysfunctional family is taking a tour through the Irish countryside when they come across what might possibly be the freakiest little town in existence. See, the locals have been having these weirdly deformed and evil kids for a few generations (gotta love that inbreeding), and they are looking for some "clean seed" to purify their future folk. Too bad that the only thing the f*cked up kids want to do is play...and by play I mean hunt, maim, torture and kill!
Is it good movie?
Well, I liked it. Yeah, the plot was a little on the vague side (they never really explained what is up with the children), but that added another layer of mystery to the creep level. David Gregory has created a finely twisted tale of village life gone horribly wrong, and subjects a family of Horror Fodder (ie. American Tourists) to some really gruesome shit. It's atmospheric, scary in a few places, funny in a few more, and the effects are skin crawling in their execution.
I especially liked Josslyn DeCrosta in the lead role of Molly, a mentally ill teenager dragged to Ireland by her creepy father and his new girlfriend. Along for the ride is her sister, played by Erica Rhodes, who is the real nutjob in the family. Seriously, I haven't wanted a character to die so horribly in a movie as I did this twit. Rounding out our hapless tourists is Robin, a poor Brittish wank that the sister picked up in London, played with hilarious effect by James Warke. The cast here is quite good, making do with the situations they are given and mostly dying in convincing ways. What more could you want of a horror cast, huh? But I especially liked DeCrosta, who I could see doing many more great things. Also of special note is Kate Aspinwall, who played the queen bee of the creepy kids, Rosemary.
And that brings us to the makeup effects, because Rosemary's was truly awesome. Her horrific makeup made her look like there were dolls eyes sewn into her freaking face! Nice! The other kids were deformed in creepy, Japanese horror kid fashion. We also get some nasty wounds courtesy of a piano wire wrapped too tight around a head (Yeah!), a few bloody beatings, and a nice bit of makeup work on Robin that made him look like he really has been shot in the cheek by a rifle and lived to poke at it! Ouch! All in all, the effects were well done.
Story wise, like I said it was a little bare in the exposition department, and while that was okay, it did bug me. A little more narrative clarity would have made the movie so much better for me. But the story kicked the audience in the balls in the first few minutes (seeing a priest point a gun at a newborn will do that to you), and despite some slow moments, it all came together at a fast clip and with some pretty good set pieces. The ending was creepy and effective, in tune with the hopeless tenor of the whole movie. On the visual side, there is some gorgeous Irish countryside, and some beautiful examples of a sense of gothic imagery that Gregory infuses his tale with. Gregory, a prolific producer and director with a very extensive list of video credits, brings a decidedly "urban fear of the rural crazies" vibe to this fairy tale gone wrong, and when you see the result on the screen, it's all good. The film has a palpable sense of tension and dread, yet it wins major points by achieving it's scares through atmosphere and creep than through gore and "in your face" tactics. I'll be paying close attention to future offerings from Gregory and Severin Films, because they be making some awesome evil film!
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen - 1.78:1. This is one movie with some severely creepy visuals. I love Gregory's style.
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and subtitles in English. There is some Gaelic thrown in there too, which was a nice touch.
While short on explanation and light on gore, Plague Town holds its own with the creep factor and a large dose of originality. It's refreshing to see more movies of this quality coming from the UK, and this one takes some time proven elements and mixes them up into a new breed of bastard scary child. The cast is quite good, the effects are just right, and the visual style is killer (meaning it's dark, depressing and cringe worthy). I loved the tension filled soundtrack, and the kids were menacing, creepy and very effective. The whole "town secret" angle was nicely done, and you never really know just what is wrong, just that it is all very very wrong! And the ending left you wanting just a little more. All told it was a pretty good scare flick, and highly recommended. It's not perfect, but it was damn good.