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Hal MacDermot [Film Festival 10.25.08] movie review horror

Year: 2008
Release date: DVD Spring 2009
Director: David Gregory
Writers: David Gregory & John Cregan
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: cyberhal
Rating: 7.7 out of 10

An Irish village full of zombie-ghoul children in Michael Myers masks, a dysfunctional American family on a visit to the Auld Country to get in touch with their roots. And verily the blood did flow, and we did find it pleasing. You've got to check out (probably dead) Rosemary, the freaky eyed chick with skin that goes crunchy crunch when she lovingly rubs the hand of the live boy she wants to have a baby with. She's the one in the poster for the movie. Plague Town is director John Gregory's first feature and it's written with his mate John Cregan. For one million bucks they did a brilliant job, and I hope they do a load more, and people give them more money. Not everything in the story makes total sense to me, but it doesn't need to. Plague Town starts with ironic humour, and moves into ghouls and some gore. The filmmakers clearly had a lot of fun with the gore, Hi open brains how are you today? John Gregory seems to have made about a billion video shorts, but I haven't seen any of them.

After a "14 years before" scene involving a thing being born that shouldn't be, the story starts with my favourite kind of family, a bunch of people who hate each other, getting off the bus in the middle of nowhere in Ireland. There's Dr Monohan (David Lombard), a George Clooneyesque chap, his messed up kids, Jessica (Erica Rhodes ) a blond cow and her recently picked up bit of trouser Robin (James Warke), who is English and total twat. The other sister is emo-just-off-the-meds-Molly (Josslyn DeCrosta). Last/not least, Dr M's bird, Annette (Lindsay Goranson) whose just trying to be nice and be accepted by the daughters. I want to say right off, that I thought all their performances were great, and some of the dialogue between the family is hilarious. The shoot is competent, although I found the back lighting in the night scenes was sometimes a bit clunky.

Just before night, the family finds a random Irish peasant digging a hole. He caresses Emo's cheek, weirds everyone out, and then they miss their bus home. Bad, bad mistake. Searching for shelter, Molly sees a flash of a ghoul, and then they find an abandoned French car, intact with luggage. They take refuge, but the need to find a phone and people draws English Twat out, then later Dr M. Needless to say, terrible idea to split up. The whole area is inhabited with insane psychotic peasants and their especially dangerous children, who may or may not be dead/infected with something nasty. The best is Rosemary with her mad splattered eyes, ohmuhgod, Albanian sheep's eyeball soup.

This film contains the most sadistic "beating a girl to death with a rim (hubcap)" I have seen so far. In fact, the FX are pretty good, with mostly make up and a dash of CGI. I loved the way English Twat stays in the story even though a good chunk of his face is blown off. Also impressive was the village women threading his eyeballs with twigs (do Gregory and Cregan have something against us Brits?). Actually, the whole insane village folklore thing is pretty cool, although some of the Irish accents seemed a bit shaky to me. I'm not going to reveal the central conceit, but I'll tell you what, they probably had the same problems in Chernobyl with that nuclear fallout stuff, or come to think of it, in Nevada or wherever it was with the Hills Have Eyes. Who will survive? Who will get twigged? Go see the movie to find out.

Any complaints I have are mostly production related, and that's mostly to do with budget. Doing a review I'm bound to say that it did look like it was shot in Connecticut, not Ireland. They don't have those covered bridges in Erin, and they don't have those New England wooden houses. M'kay. On the other hand, the music score's pretty cool, from minimalist type classical piano early on, to Ladytron-type electronic dance beats. Plague Town is currently doing the Festivals and according to co-writer John Cregan, it should be out on DVD in spring 2009.

Interview with co-writer John Cregan

After the Hollywood Film Fest showing of Plague Town, I caught up with the film's co-writer, John Cregan. We were in the lobby of the Arclight cinema, Sunset Boulevard. He told me about the inspiration for Plague Town, and also his new movie, the post apocalyptic Devolution.

Cyberhal: congratulations on your movie, that was brilliant.

John: Thank you, I'm glad you had a good time.

Cyberhal: What was the inspiration for the Plague Town script?

John: Really it was all written around the Rosemary scene, when you first see her. That was all part of one of David's shorts. I'd just been on honeymoon in Ireland and visited some Island there with about 6 people on it. It was so otherworldly. It seemed like the kind of place that this kind of story could happen, a kind of end of the world place.

Cyberhal: Was it difficult to find finance?

John: It took about a year and a half. It wasn't too bad. We have a good relationship with MPI, the parent company of Dark Sky. That also helps for distribution.

Cyberhal: what other projects are you working on?

John: I've just wrapped a new movie! It's called Devolved. It's a post apocalyptic story where teenagers get shipwrecked on an island and it all goes to hell.

Cyberhal: Yes! That is exactly the kind of movie we love. When can we see it?

John: We're working on that now, we'll see. But we've got Severin Films (John Cregan and David Gregory's distribution company), so if worst comes to worst, we will still get DVD distribution.

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