A Plague So Pleasant Review

Yet Another Indie Take on the Zombie Apocalypse

The zombie apocalypse has seemingly been explored from every angle in wake of The Walking Dead’s massive television popularity. Tiny indie film A Plague So Pleasant tackles the zombie apocalypse from a fresh angle. How would society react if zombies were found to be harmless and legally wandered the streets as a protected class of undead citizens? That idea is explored in this very low-budget production with amateur undertones. A Plague So Pleasant is written and directed by Benjamin Roberds, and co-directed by Jordan Reyes.

A pointless stylistic endeavor opens A Plaque So Pleasant that may prove a roadblock to some viewers. The first thirty minutes are in primitive black-and-white before all hell breaks loose and the real zombie action can begin. We are introduced to Clay Marshal (David Chandler) and Todd (Max Moody), his roommate. They are living in a post-apocalyptic zombie America.

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After zombies wiped out two billion people in twelve hours in this world, it was discovered the zombies won’t attack humans unless provoked. That leads to a strange situation where the government has made them a protected species, allowed to mindlessly roam the streets with their rotting flesh. Some have been herded off into protected zones, away from humans. The movie does have a little fun with the concept. Clay is forced to attend an undead awareness training seminar at work. If you can’t accept that unlikely scenario, pass this movie right on by without a second look.

Clay’s sister Mia (Eve Boehnke) still pines for her boyfriend-turned-zombie, Gerry. She is delusional enough to believe they are still in a relationship. Gerry wanders the countryside as a brain-dead zombie with maggots clinging to his mangled face. She continues to visit him on a regular basis. Clay decides he’ll break the law (killing zombies is outlawed) and break her of this romantic delusion by putting an end to zombie Gerry. That decision ultimately leads Clay on a fierce run for survival from hordes of fast zombies.

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There is a kernel of a good movie trapped within A Plague So Pleasant. The zombie make-up is effective, the story flows reasonably well after a slow start, and this is definitely a new idea in the zombie apocalypse film-making business. That is tempered by an uneven cast and strange directorial choices. More polish and a script with better dialogue could have turned it into a better zombie movie.

This movie does bring some fresh ideas to what has become a horribly derivative genre.

Chandler plays the erstwhile hero of this piece and he’s good enough in a forgettable kind of way. The script doesn’t call for him to be a great actor but he meets the challenge. The same can’t be said for supporting player Max Moody. His stiff delivery of the admittedly awkward dialogue fed his character should have been cut or re-shot. I respect trying something different as a director. Making the opening act in black-and-white was a needless stylistic overreach by inexperienced filmmakers. You are not making 2001 or The Godfather, fellas. There are other little directorial choices which become annoying, possibly covering for the limited script.

A Plague So Pleasant runs a mere 77 minutes yet remains sluggishly paced. That brief running time makes it worth checking out if you are a diehard zombie fanatic. This is not the grandiose drama of The Walking Dead or the kinetic action of 28 Days Later, but a strange hybrid that doesn’t know what it wants to be at the end of the day. I’ve seen far worse no-budget zombie movies in my time. This movie does bring some fresh ideas to what has become a horribly derivative genre. It’s not a good movie but one that makes a sincere attempt at being the next great zombie movie.

A Plague So Pleasant is the type of horror movie in which the filmmakers do everything possible to work around their severe budgetary limitations. In that regard they succeed more often than they fail. My advice to them next time out is keep your friends out of the cast.

Movie★★☆☆☆

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Distributor Wild Eye Releasing has released A Plague So Pleasant on DVD and various digital providers. The unrated movie would most likely earn an R-rating with graphic violence and one shot of frontal male zombie nudity.