Oh, Plague Town, let me count the ways that you have confused me. Can we talk about this?
As I sit here, listening to Super Junior, which is as far removed from horror as you can get, I keep coming back to Plague Town. The setting? Good. The actors? Pretty decent. The storyline? Fuggaboutit. I picked up this movie on a whim. I was out shopping, looking to add to my ever-growing collection when I spotted this on the shelf. Now I have to admit that I am not familiar with much in independent horror, but this caught my eye and I wanted to give it a try. The images on the front and back covers were striking enough. On the front, a woman stands with seemingly lidless eyes, reaching out for you, while on the back, a still shot of children in ragged clothes stand together unhappily. Surely there had to be a twisted story behind this, right?
It starts out promising enough, a pregnant girl about to give birth and the allusions that there may be something wrong with the child. The priest overseeing the birth looks at the baby and immediately wants to bury it, but the father has other ideas, mainly burying the priest. Shoot forward 14 years and a family comes to the village to visit and learn about their roots. Of course, the teen girls are not entirely content with exploring with their father and his girlfriend and the eldest sister does what she can to piss off the family, including sneaking off with her boyfriend, who was brought along. The movie itself does not move that quickly along, but after being stranded in the country, the family comes to an conclusion that there is something wrong, that they’re being watched. The younger sister is the first to pick up on it, but isn’t believed. There are implications that she suffered a mental breakdown, but this is not elaborated on. After finding a car in the middle of the woods, the family bunkers down and that’s when the real fun begins. Hunted down by murderous children, the family members are on a journey of terror instead of finding their roots. I’m not going to try to give away too too much about the story in case some horror fan out there wants to give it a try, but be warned in reading this post that I am not a fan.
I wanted to like Plague Town, truly I did, but it left too many unanswered questions. The question of the children playing in the woods and a empty house that the father stumbled upon, the question of the masks or faces that they wore over their own, the question of how they got be deranged in the first place. Those were simply the questions I began having when the children first appeared. A watcher is constantly asking, “Ok, so what is really going on?” throughout majority of the movie. Every time you think that you’re going to get an answer, that the children’s great-grandmother is going to enlighten the boyfriend as he sits in her little house with Rice Krispy-type-looking treats on the table, that the pregnant woman the sisters stumble upon would be able to tell them exactly what was going after they rescued her, it just doesn’t happen. I could understand all of this if by the end of the movie, you finally get the meat of the situation. I wish that was the case. My whole deal with Plague Town was that, as creepy as it was, as dark as it was, as mildly gory as it was, I like my movies with an explanation for the craziness that is going on. It makes it more interesting than sitting in utter confusion. Plague Town had a lot of potential of being that movie that creeps up on you when you’re not looking and shock you right out of your seat. Instead, the girl with no eyelids just creeped up on me and threw rocks at me as I sobbed.
Rating: 3 screams