Reviewed by Melissa Bostaph
Starring SYN DeVil, Terry Jernigan, Paul Bugelski, Jonathan Rockett, Hollis Zemany, Laura Chaves, Charles Powell
Directed by Franklin Guerrero Jr.
Distributed by Anthem DVD
I have to admit that The 8th Plague was one of those DVD’s that caused a mild shudder of morbid anticipation to ripple through me as I slid it into the player. There was that sick feeling in the pit of my gut telling me that I was in for yet another journey into the inky abyss of wretched filmmaking. Reserved to the fact that I was about to sit through an hour and a half of mind numbingly inane horror flavored shit … I pushed play.
Yup, there it was, playing out like I had imagined. Sub-par acting, screwy framing of the shots, forced dialogue, certain effects with the slight essence of cheese like substance … I was yet again at the mercy of shit-wielding morons with a camera and a micro-budget.
Or so I thought.
What had started as simply another “plop in the bowl” to my DVD pile equivalent of a Roto-Rooter dream job with a huge paycheck at the end had actually started to gain momentum. It was neither the mild turn around in acting ability nor was it an amazing transformation to stellar writing; it was the change in special effects that caught and held my attention. The effects team behind this film, while being a bit amateur here and there, did an amazing job getting their gory point across.
With each scene came more and better make-up and effects. I found myself paying more attention to the set-ups just so I could catch all of the gloriously painful-looking payoffs. This crappy little indie film was making me cringe more with each buried axe and slit throat. More so even than a lot of the recent big screen Hollywood horrors.
The 8th Plague’s story is relatively straight forward and typical as far as demon/zombie films go, but it remains unique enough to hold its own. It goes as such:
When Launa’s sister doesn’t return from a camping trip in time for the sisters’ visit to their parent’s grave on the anniversary of their deaths she becomes obsessed with finding out why. Launa recruits a couple of friends to assist in the search, and the small group (along with an unwilling police officer and an even less willing ex-prison guard) soon finds themselves in an abandoned prison, surrounded by an ancient evil. A demonic curse has been unleashed and it seems there is no chance for escape.
The DVD has the standard theatrical trailer attached, along with a selection of deleted scenes that are about par for the course when it comes to deleted scenes. There is also a making of-featurette that showcases each lead character talking about the film and the casting process. Mainly the usual information you’d expect, but with a few surprises, such as the fact that one of the axe blows actually connected with the skull of the actress involved! I wouldn’t say that the brief featurette is worth setting aside time for, but if you’re interested enough in the film you may find it equally as intriguing.
All in all if you enjoy a decent gore effect then this movie may be right up your dark alley, but if you’re looking for a great story with way above average acting you may find The 8th Plague unable to provide the fix you’re craving. I will tell you this much though; I was pleasantly surprised when it was all said and done. My hats off to the effects crew behind the gooey, gory goodness delivered by The 8th Plague.
3 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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