Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Steve Railsback, Alexis Zibolis, Paige La Pierre, Bobby James, Noelle Paris
Written and Directed by Brad Sykes
If you have absolutely no qualms about watching a sci-fi horror movie highly derivative of Alien and every single zombie movie ever made populated by characters that show more personality once they’ve been transformed into a mutant space zombie than they ever did before, then Plaguers will certainly appeal to you. Hard to be overly critical of a b-movie that doesn’t try to be anything more than it is, but I think it’s a legitimate gripe to criticize it for being so darn listless. That necessary spark that makes a b-movie like this click just isn’t there.
Sexy female space pirates dressed like space age versions of 1960’s stewardesses attempt to hijack the interstellar fuel vessel Pandora. The Pandora is also transporting a glowing green prism of something discovered on a dead planet, and their only clue is Thanatos. Nobody aboard the Pandora has any real idea what the hell it is even as they insist on taking it back to Earth in hopes of selling it for big bucks.
One of the female space pirates inadvertently cracks it open and gets infected by a mysterious green ray that transforms her into the first of the growling mutant space zombies. The rest of Plaguers plays out more or less like your standard Night of the Living Dead scenario that just happens to be set within the cramped confines of an industrial space vessel.
The female space pirates are bitchy and shout a lot. The Pandora crew members are very low-key and talk softly. Characters will react in horror as they watch other characters die or get transformed into a zombie space mutant; I would watch the same scenes and think, “Which one was that again?” Except for the especially catty female space pirate captain and Steve Railsback as the Mellow-Bot 5000, physical appearance is about the only aspect distinguishing one character from the next.
The space zombie make-up effects are top notch. The actors, not so much. Since the cast consists of barely a dozen characters, that doesn’t allow for a significant body count or a substantial number of zombies.
There is little by way of intentional camp, a plus when you’re trying to make a grim horror movie, a negative when you stage catfights too sloppily choreographed to be taken seriously, yet still too silly to be taken seriously. I don’t know if more camp would have improved things; I do know that this film desperately could have used some more pep to it.
The movie is very much reminiscent of any number of low budget Alien-esque films that went straight-to-DVD in the Eighties and Nineties (I guarantee you if this had been made 10-15 years ago, it would have starred Maria Ford), most of which are forgotten today. Plaguers is equally unmemorable.
2 out of 5
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