Sunday, June 5, 2011

Horror Film Review

Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone (2001):  Zombie flick!  From Argentina!  Don't get too excited.  The novelty wears off in about six minutes.  And just because Fangoria has attached its name to the project is not a guarantee of quality filmmaking.  It is, however, a guarantee of gore galore. 

I could waste a paragraph or two outlining the plot and summing up the action, and I would if it mattered.  It doesn't.  I will tell you that three guys get dumped off by the government in a town quarantined after an experiment goes wrong.  And the experiment was conducted by, um, aliens.  Anyway, the whole film is these three men battling zombies and trying to find a way out of the city.  Sounds good, no?  It does, but it's not.  Damn it.

An argument could be made that for what it is, Plaga Zombie isn't too bad.  So what is it?  Campy, over-the-top, and cheap.  Strictly B-movie fare.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  Some folks enjoy the so-bad-it's-good approach.  I'm not one of those folk.  If you're going to go to the trouble to make the damn thing, at least choose a theme.  Either go with satire like Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead, or go the serious route like 28 Days Later.  And then stick to it, for God's sake.  But Plaga gives us ridiculous gore, silly zombie make-up, and then expects us to feel suspense as our heroes fight, run, then fight some more, and then run away again.  It just doesn't work.  Again, damn it.  I'm beginning to think only the French know how to make decent zombie flicks anymore. 

The Breakdown

Acting:  Bill (Pablo Pares) is a dead ringer for C. Thomas Howell and his acting prowess is about the same.  Max (Hernan Saez) is the most annoying cinematic character since Jar Jar Binks.  All in all, the acting is pretty stinky.
Story:  Frustratingly stupid.  Turns out that after people turn into zombies, they then shed their zombie skin and voila, brand-spanking new alien.  Why?  Oh, who the hell knows.
Direction:  More choppy than Lake Michigan in a thunderstorm.  I honestly don't know if there was an actual director or if the actors and cameramen just made it up as they went along.
Production Values:  The only positive thing to be said is that it was shot on film and not video. 
Gore/FX:  Now, I can't really fault the gore-factor here.  It's creative, albeit way over the top.  No doubt the majority of the budget found its way into the hands of the FX guys. 
Scares:  Um, no.  Nary a one.
The Ending:  They tried to do a Butch and Sundance kind of thing.  Didn't work.
The Verdict:  Should you see Plaga Zombie?  If you really, and I do mean really, enjoy campy B-movie silliness, I'd say give it a go.  Otherwise, avoid it like a zombie plague.

My Rating1 out of 5 stars.

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