Monday, 22 August 2016
Plague Town (2008)
Killer kids are kind of a Thing in horror movies. There's The Omen, Devil Times Five, and more Children of the Corn films than I care to count, just to name a few. And we can add this little offering to the list.
We begin with a scene where an expectant mother is clearly terrified of the child she is about to bear. Not of the process of childbirth, you understand, but of the child itself. A priest consoles her, but when the babe is born, he quickly stuffs it into a bag and prepares to shoot it. He's stopped - lethally - by the child's father. "We must love these children, despite what they are." says the new dad.
Fourteen years later, a vacationing American family of four, plus the English boyfriend of the elder daughter, are visiting the area. They miss the last bus home and, in searching for assistance, stumble into the village where the earlier events took. It seems all the children born here are (a) deformed in some way and (b) homicidal. Though frankly, the five strangers should probably be more worried about what the adults have in mind for them.
So right out of the gate Plague Town commits two pretty big sins. Number one, there's no real effort to make us like or care about our protagonists. Quite the opposite, if anything. And number two, it doesn't let them actually be protagonists; at least not outside of one brief ten minute stretch about an hour into the flick, when it seems like the writers are actually going to let the two still-surviving characters drive the climax of the film (spoiler: they're not).
On the plus side ... well, one the mutant kids is actually genuinely creepy, and the performances of the cast as a whole are mostly solid enough.
Alas, they're given very little to work with by either the direction or the script. In particular, the first two kill scenes are pretty laughably constructed. Also, the sound department seems to have not bothered turning up every day as some parts of the dialogue are near inaudible.