Plaguers

Never heard of that game? Pull out the front pockets of your pants.  Note that they look a bit like bunny ears.  Now do you get it?  Yeah, I think that's funny.  I'm twevle years old.

Imagine this: a movie where zombies meet the crew from Alien, only it’s not the crew from Alien, but sort of like the crew from Alien.  They also have an android  Lance Hendriksen Impersonator.  Next add in an all-girl crew of beautiful, but murderous, space nurses –  in identical miniskirts, then drop in the green orb from Heavy Metal and have all the space ships made of plywood and drywall.

It sounds better than it was.

 

We join the crew of the good ship Pandora on their way back to Earth.  The ship’s captain, Rubini (David P. Johnson), is dead and his body has been placed in something that looks like a tanning bed with a little window.  Everybody is sad about that – about Rubini being dead – not about the tanning bed thing.  The crew are probably still in the denial stage of grieving over Rubini’s death, which might explain why they are acting mutinous towards the acting captain, Darian Holloway (Alexis Zibolis).

The corpse of Rubini is not their only passenger.  They also have Thanatos, the jolly green orb they’re smuggling back to Earth to sell on the black market as a power source. This plan, like many great plans, is sent awry by the flying monkeywrench of fate.  This particular monkeywrench comes in the form of a distress call from the Diana, a damaged vessel drifting in space and filled with sexy space nurses led by Kyra (Noelle Perris), the space nurse supreme.  Kyra and her crew of murderous space nurses decide to take the Pandora and in the process one of the evil space nurses gets spattered with glow stick juice from Thanatos, sparking space zombie mayhem.  Will Kyra and Holloway join forces to meet this new terrifying threat?  Will the space zombies kill everyone on board?  Ah, you’ll have to watch the movie because I’m not going to tell you.  I will say that the plot does get a little twisty.

So what did I think of Plaguers?  Well, it took me three tries to get through it, so I wouldn’t say that it’s a stellar film, even though it’s set in outer-space. Get it?  Stellar.  Outer-space.  Urgh.  Let’s get to it:

The acting ranges from amateurish to mediocre.  Steve Railsback, as the Lance Hendriksen Impersonator, is the biggest name in here and his performance is terrible.  I know the guy can act.  I’ve seen him in other things.  He was great in Helter Skelter and he even once won a Golden Globe, for duck’s sake. So what went wrong?  I dunno.  Maybe they should have just splurged and gotten the real Lance.

The other standout was Paige La Pierre.  Her character, Sadie, threatened to kill and torture everything that came within her reach.  She was irritating to the point that I wanted to kill her.  If making me want to slap her into silence is what she and director Brad Sykes were going for, then she deserves an Oscar.

Mediocre acting isn’t a deal killer for me.  I understand that an actor’s performance can be hampered by a lack of talent, bad directing or poor sound (The sound in Plaguers is fine, I was just using that as an example).   I can keep up the suspension of disbelief unless the acting is really bad.  The acting here wasn’t anywhere near bad enough to take me out of the movie.

Why did I have to make three attempts to watch Plaguers? What kept taking me out of the movie?  I’ve given this some thought and have come to the conclusion that the sets were a major problem.  They didn’t look like the interior of a space ship should, at least I didn’t think so.  They looked more like some sort of underground bunker.  Yeah, I could get past the acting, the mediocre dialogue and the fact that I didn’t like any of the characters, but the sets were, I think, the last straw.  I also thought that having the characters use guns was a bad idea.  Nothing says “This is not happening in Space” like the sudden appearance of a .38 revolver.

Was there anything about Plaguers that was good?  Yes.  The monster effects were good – really good, in fact.  I was watching this movie, trying to stay focused so I can write an honest review, when suddenly: POW!  Gnarly, gross zombie effects grab my attention.  If Plaguers filmmaker Brad Sykes was shooting for good 1980s style practical monster effects, that is what his people gave him – in spades.  I enjoyed the monster and make-up effects in Plaguers way more than the effects in some other movies I’ve seen lately <cough> Underworld </cough>.

It’s not fun to give a negative review for a movie that tries so hard.  It’s like stomping a puppy, an evil mutant zombie puppy, but a puppy none-the-less.  I’ve heard interviews with Brad Skykes, he seems like a nice guy with a passion for making movies and clearly a lot of work went into this picture, but Plaguers really misses the mark.  Even though the make-up effects were great and Sykes did a good job presenting those effects, everything else conspired to make this movie difficult to watch.  Movies, in spite of any particular failing, should always be fun to watch.  Plaguers fails the fun test.

Starring:
Steve Railsback
Alexis Zibolis
Bobby James
Noelle Perris
Paige La Pierre

Screenplay:
Brad Sykes

Director:
Brad Sykes

One out of five Vincents

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