Sunday, 16 February 2014

Pathogen (2006)

Somewhat unusually, I bought the Zombie Girl DVD for the extras. Specifically, for this extra.

Zombie Girl, you see, is a 2009 documentary about the making of the movie Pathogen, and in an unusual turn of events it is the documentary you have to buy in order to get the original film as an extra, rather than the documentary coming as an extra on the film.

But then, Pathogen is not your typical zombie movie.

I mean, in many ways it's very much what you'd expect: an accident at a medical research facility leads to a mysterious contagion. As authorities flail ineffectually, hordes of flesh eating zombies take to the streets in search of succulent human snackage. An ever dwindling group of uninfected try to stay ahead of the undead munchies.

What isn't typical, however, is that Pathogen was written, directed, produced, shot and edited by Emily Hagins while she was in middle school. Now to be honest, the movie shows the youth of its creator with its clunky script and technical deficiencies. But seriously, she was twelve years old when she started making it (13 by the time she actually got the film finished). There aren't many 12 year olds who could put together a feature-length film, I'm thinking.

So yeah, by all standard metrics this is a bad film: the acting is clearly being done by amateurs (with one exception you'll spot pretty easily); there are many continuity issues around what time of day it is; the dialogue sometimes becomes inaudible, etcetera and so on. But I don't care. Hagins's enthusiasm shines through it all, and I had a blast watching this.

PS: The Zombie Girl documentary itself is pretty good, and I recommend watching it before Pathogen itself. Also the Q&A from the world premiere is pretty interesting, though I suggest you save that until after seeing the film.

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