OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets


The Plague (2006)

First of all: No, Clive Barker didn't really have anything to do with this movie. It's not Hellraiser, or Midnight Meat Train, or Nightbreed. So if you're like me and are expecting cool stuff when you read the words "Clive Barker" - don't bother to watch this movie. It's not bad, but it's not good either. It's... just there.

Second: If you're a gorehound and expect something nifty - don't.

A short synopsis: One day, at exactly the same moment, all children all over the world under the age of 9 become catatonic. Well, most of the time. Twice per day, they suffer from violent tetraspasms (I don't know if this word is just a German word or not, because apparently, my dictionary doesn't know of its existence, nor does Wikipedia, but damn it, I have been diagnosed with it and want to use the term now in order to show off how infinitely cool I am), aka twitching and flailing of the limbs. Also, you only see the white of their eyes... hell yeah.
The children remain in this state for 10 years; all the children born in those 10 years are born comatose. I personally envision a beautiful, silent world with that premise, but maybe that's just me and my natural distaste for children. Children are creepy, loud, annoying little buggers, and I could do without them.

Maybe its this intrinsic distaste I personally have that did not exactly make this movie a success on the creepy-scale in my eyes. The thought of all children becoming catatonic is more interesting than creepy to me. The thought of babies being born in a coma is something I think of as awesome and cool. Maybe people who like children, or are parents, would see this film in a different light, so anyone out there who reads this and actually has some sort of positive relationship with kids: Watch it and tell me if it's just me and my personal perception of the cute little futures of humanity (*shivers in terror*) or the movie. I vote for the latter, but then again, that's just me.

People in the movie say that the children are "shut off from the world". Well, being catatonic doesn't necessarily mean that you don't notice what is going on around you, so I'd be rather careful with statements like that - especially in the light of what happens 10 years after the children suddenly went away...

Long story short: They wake up and start killing adults. Being an adult myself, I find the thought of being hunted by a group of children unnerving. Not in the "damn, what a creepy thought"-way, but in the "holy crap, that would be the most annoying thing ever"-way. I don't know if it was intended to come across as such, though. But just imagine it: Four 6 year old kids and one 15 year old sister are following you with the intent to kill you. Terrifying, isn't it? You can kick the smaller ones, and there sure as hell is something handy around to deliver a good blow to the taller one's head.
Then again, maybe it's that whole "I don't like children, so the thought of having to fight my way through hordes of kids is actually entertaining and something I'd volunteer to as long as I get a weapon in order to inflict proper damage"-thing I have going on. Somewhere, there is someone to whom the thought of kicking a child, or shooting it in its head, is a disgusting, terrifying one that would induce slight nausea (I mean come on, the little buggers are sooooooo cute...). I apologise to those people that I actually find it hilariously funny to see kids getting hit with stuff. Unfortunately, there is not enough damage done to the little "we just got up and want to kill you all"-flowers. Damn it, little Timmy woke up slightly angry (or whatever generic children's name you want to choose to mock the movie's terrifying premise).

The movie has its moments, though. At one point, we see the comatose children/teenagers. They are clothed in poor, ill-fitting clothes, each of them lying on a flat, simple "bed" - rows and rows of them, filling a highschool gymnasium. They are stacked, denied even the most basic things such as proper care and a blanket to cover them. It's at this point that you realise that things aren't exactly perfect, and that the whole world is probably dealing with this problem in the same way. Society doesn't know how to deal with the comatose kids, so they just ...put them away - a well-known, centuries old tradition. Have a problem with people you don't know how to deal with? Put them away. It doesn't solve the problem, true, but at least you don't have to face what you don't understand.
Considering this, I'd be in the mood for some killing as well after waking up. The problem is: The movie is incoherent when it comes to its premise of "you reap what you sow" (I fucking had to read a synopsis of "The Grapes of Wrath", a book that is often eluded to in the movie and has strong ties with it. I don't like North American "literature", so I want to state here officially that I go through hardships and pain like none of you can understand for a review that no one is going to read of a movie like "The Plague"... *sighs*). If the kids are angry at the world and how they got treated - why does Eric (one of those lovely little buggers) kill his father who spent ten freaking years doing nothing but caring lovingly for him? I don't get it. Seriously.

Looking at my notes, I see that I made some about the characters in this movie, but trust me when I say that they are really not important. This movie could have been done with any other combination of characters - it's not about them and how they cope with the situation of being hunted by mobs of angry, weird children, it's about the idea and premise behind the movie. Problem is, it fails to convincingly deliver said idea/premise. I still can't really figure out what the thing was about. And no, I am not going to torture myself by watching it again - it would just be boring, and I wouldn't pay any attention to it anymore.

Another thing I have a slight problem with is the following:

What the hell is this plague? What caused it? Why? What happened to the children? Why did they develop a hive mind? Why do they kill people? Why do they apparently commit random acts of violence with some adults they kill, and only snap the neck of another one? What is it with "every time they kill someone, they put their hands onto their eyes and take their soul"?! Why do they mutilate that one woman in the bathroom? Is that in any way helping with the soul-thing, or was the killer-kid just a particularly psychotic one? Why do they run around like zombies? WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!

*takes a deep breath*

There you go, that's what I have a slight problem with.

I would love to say that the phrase "Teenage Zombies" never made so much sense, but... they're not zombies. They're not dead. Or undead, for that matter, although directly after they wake up, the movie changes into a zombie survival horror flick for a short while. I liked that part, although it was severely lacking in the gore department (I am willing to forgive that, though, as this movie was apparently destined to be broadcast on TV, so I understand that they don't want to show the doubtlessly educated and civilised people making up the audience terrible things like intestines, blood or brains). Still nice little episode, though. Trapped with something akin to teenage zombies in a highschool at night! I have to admit it, I found that part nifty.

At this point I want to add one thing: Producers and directors of movies - please, please, PLEASE. If you show a close-up of someone shooting up someone with morphine, do some research. I was confused. Why did the supposed nurse hold the syringe in a nearly 70° angle? Why did she ram the needle all the way into the arm? I know, it is one of those cool props you filmmakers have, but seriously. If you want to be realistic, please inform yourself how to properly instruct the actress to, well, play someone who knows how to actually do something like using a syringe. The way you showed it, she cleanly shot the morphine directly into the muscle after ramming it through the vein, for whatever reason there might be. Special American Nurse trick? It's especially weird if you know how fucking painful it is when a needle goes through the lower wall of the vein. Trust me on that - years of experience with hospitals and incompetent nurses and doctors have made sure that I know. So, please: Use your props in a more realistic way.

Anyways, it's a confused movie. Intellectual and philosophical "horror" (with very little horror being actually present), a plot that I am not quite sure if it deserves the name... confused. I'm sure that the idea it wants to convey is something worth pondering, but the movie just failed to actually convey the idea. I mean, I'm still a bit "WTF?!" now... which is not a sign of me having totally understood the plot. Maybe I'm just dumb, but I severely doubt that (Sartre couldn't beat me, so a movie like The Plague will hardly succeed where French Existentialism failed...).

But it's not a "bad" movie. As I said at the beginning of this review... it's just there. Nothing more, nothing less.

A neutral 5/10 for... nothing in particular.