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THE PLAGUE

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Movies Kelly Parks Review by
Kelly Parks
The Plague
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Clive Barker's THE PLAGUE - 2006
Armada Pictures / D.H. Blair Film Capital Fund / Midnight Picture Show / Screen Gems
Rated: USA: R

Endings are hard. Trust me, they are. You can come up with cool ideas for cool scenes and a cool story to string them all together, but round about page 90 of the screenplay you know it's time to wrap things up with a kick ass ending. Sometimes that's, like I said, hard.

On a completely different topic, I just saw THE PLAGUE. It was directed by Hal Masonberg and written by Mr. Masonberg and Teal Minton. The actual complete title is CLIVE BARKER'S THE PLAGUE but well known horror writer Clive Barker merely served as a producer on this one.

The story opens with a parent's nightmare. David (Arne MacPherson) comes into his son Eric's room to wake him up and finds the boy unresponsive and drooling. David rushes to the hospital only to discover that every parent in town with a child nine-years old or younger is already there. A TV newscast in the background reveals this same thing has happened to every child on Earth.

We jump to ten years later. Tom (James Van Der Beek: SCARY MOVIE) arrives in town. We learn from the radio that every child born since the event was born in the same catatonic state. Vast resources have gone into caretaker facilities for all the catatonic children.

Tom is David's recently paroled brother. They have a few awkward moments but Tom ends up crashing at David's place and helping him care for his now nineteen year old catatonic son.

Tom's ex-wife Jean (Ivana Milicevic: PAYCHECK) works as a nurse at the local care facility. She's less than thrilled that Tom is back in town.

No one has been able to figure out what keeps the kids in a catatonic state or why, twice a day at the same time every day, worldwide, all the children have a brief seizure. High schools are shutting down and everyone is convinced the extinction of humanity is at hand.

All of this is well done and well acted. The cast does a great job and I must mention that the cast includes (in a small, nearly cameo sized role) classic horror favorite Dee Wallace Stone (CRITTERS, THE FRIGHTENERS). She makes clear the anguish parents would feel having to endure losing a child even though they're still right there.

The somber, resigned mood of the people sets the right tone and it occurred to me that just this story – the extinction of humanity for bizarre reasons beyond our control – would be an interesting movie in and of itself. Maybe so.

But you know this wouldn't be a horror movie unless the kids wake up. And when they do they want to kill, Kill, KILL!

Sort of. They do start killing people but they're not mindless zombies. They operate in an organized way and they want more than just to kill all the adults. They want –

But wait, what's that? It looks like a

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
This is fantasy, not sci-fi (you have to see it to understand that) so there's no science to analyze really. I will address one obvious issue that probably occurred to you. When people are comatose and bed-ridden for many years and then somehow wake up, they usually can't walk because their muscles have atrophied and their tendons have shrunk. But remember these kids are catatonic, not comatose. In other words, they are not unconscious – just unresponsive. They are able to eat when spoon fed and the twice daily seizures would serve as exercise.

I like giving good reviews. I like finding good movies and most of the way through this one I was convinced I had done just that. I was ready to give it four shriek girls. But the ending was odd, and not in a good way. I wasn't looking over their shoulder when they wrote the screenplay but I get the feeling that their creativity just ran dry. They'd done very well and created a lot of cool stuff but the ending felt really slapped together.

To be perfectly honest, it left me confused. I don't know why things happened or what it all meant or how what happened resolves anything. And I don't like feeling that way. I don't like it at all.

THE PLAGUE gets two shriek girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2007 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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