The Plague (2006)
The film “The Plague” is billed as “Clive Barker’s The Plague”, that’s going a bit far. Barker produced the film but it was written by Hal Masonberg (who also directed it) & Teal Minton. I also wonder about the choice of titles since the “Plague” in the film isn’t even definitely a plague, it is established early on that like “Night of the Living Dead” the audience won’t be told why it happened. What was it that happened? All the children in the world under the age of 9 fall into a catatonic state, at the same time. This doesn’t really seem plague-like to me. They remain comatose for 10 years until suddenly they wake up. Rather than being cause for celebration, the children must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed because they immediately begin violently killing every adult they can find.
The set up for the film is similar to any number of zombie horror films, except of course that the children aren’t eating their victims. The children are simply driven by an unknown force to kill all the adults. Also unlike other films of the genre, these kids learn as they go and suddenly we find them disabling cars and using firearms to do their dirty work.
The story has a lot of potential, but unfortunately the film doesn’t quite make it. Saying “what do you expect, it’s low budget?” is an easy out, but I don’t think that is it. There are a lot of low budget films that work, look at Romero’s original “Night of the Living Dead” just as one example. The film doesn’t try to show the whole world’s problem, it focuses on a small group and for the scale, the budget doesn’t compromise the story. The problem was the characters. There never seems to be any chemistry among the group of survivors the story follows. The film also randomly throws characters in without any explanation of why they are there or why they do what they do. I guess the view can take along a note pad and add back-story as they wish to fill in the gaps. The lack of chemistry and understanding of the characters combine to prevent the audience from ever really becoming connected to them enough to care what happens to them.
“The Plague” had potential, but it missed the boat somewhere between the idea and the execution. I may have missed some deeper point that the film was trying to make, it felt like there was one there, somewhere, but it didn’t show for me. So if you want to check out “The Plague” go ahead, but don’t expect a real piece of Clive Barker’s work, think of it more as something he put up some cash for.