Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Plaga Zombie - review

1997 (Argentina)

Contains mild spoilers.

Plaga Zombie, translated, Zombie Plague, is a quite frankly atrocious, amateurish, over-the-top Dead Alive (Braindead) want-to-be made by some punk-ass Argentinian kids who look like they just wanted to hang out with their mates and see how far they could push the boundaries of taste and decency. It also goes to show what can be achieved with passion, ingenuity and unquestionable ability as, for a film that purports to have been made for just $120, it's audaciously breathtaking, vibrant and quite brilliant, putting to shame a lot of films with hundred times the budget.

Directed by Pablo Parés and Hernán Sáez Plaga Zombie is a goof-ball horror comedy of the highest order. Aliens beginning their attack on humanity are possessing and abducting people, inserting parasitical hosts then dropping them back off to die, reanimate and kill anyone they come across. Mike (Walter Cornás) is the first to turn and with his room mate Bill (also Pablo Parés) a medical student trying to diagnose his rapid onset of exploding pustules and sores the two are joined by John West (Berta Muñiz) a currently out of work amateur wrestler and his ex-partner, and manager Willie Boxer (Diego Parés) who is showing the same symptoms. Plaga Zombie doesn't like to amble so the two soon turn and the carnage, killing and extensive gratuitous vomit, blood and gore start to flow.

The best way to describe the bizarre alien parasitically possessed zombies of Plaga Zombies is to take the traditional 80s Romero shuffling walking dead, throw all hues of garish multi-coloured paints over them and have them act with all the playful sadistic mischievousness of the Gremlins from the film of their namesake. They're like a pack of rabid bloodthirsty m&ms; there's blue ones, green ones, red and yellow ones, their look and feel is cheap, chintzy, artificial and in excess they're violently sickening. Whether they're playing poker, phoning for pizza, or vomiting in a victims mouths they're very much the vehicle for the next original sick joke or wantonly gratuitous exploitation. They're appearance and behaviour perfectly mirrors the absurdity and excesses of the story, the development of the characters and the acting.

There isn't much to say about the story. It's goofy, daft and speeds along at a truly break-neck pace. Willie and Mike are joined by a motley assortment of additional alien zombie critters who take over his little suburban house and it becomes very much an us vs. them madcap battle of survival. John West rediscovers his spandex wearing wrestling heritage, Bill deduces they're dead and a good way to dispatch the host is with acid, which he conveniently just happens to the necessary ingredients for, and they decide to tackle a zombie horde that seems very much happy to just goof about and have the fight come to them. Cue lots of blood, lots of gore and lots of highly original, and audaciously over the top zombie dispatching including the obligatory chainsaw (actually it looked like a hedge trimmer) and lawn mower. Like I said, it's taken its inspiration from Dead Alive and Evil Dead is more than happy to turn the dial to 11 and leave it there for long sequences of the most ludicrous, slapstick, farcical gore and carnage and they're willing to try anything if it looks sufficiently gruesome and can get a laugh.

For $120 everyone should involved with costumes, effects and makeup should be given a gold star. The nature of the feature, and a frankly very poor film quality, allows the Parés and Sáez a certain leeway but the effects, gore and prosthetics are more than competent, oozing with bizarre undead alien style, and always with just the right side of hyper-realistic in the best tradition of the genre. The soundtrack could be lifted straight from Dead Alive but it worked there and I'll cut the guy some slack.

Like Peter Jackson, Parés and Sáez have a real eye for making the excessive and obscene farcical and fun so that the audience feels in on the joke and not sickened by sadistic indulgence. Full of imagination and energy Plaga Zombie is a delight to watch, the action carries the story and acting but does so with gusto and flare and for such a small budget, and obviously filmed with what equipment they could get their hands on, the result are coherent and Parés and Sáez, for new directors capture the daftness with style, skill and many moments of inventive flair. Plaga Zombie is not going to win any awards but look past the poor film capture there's a zany classic for those that want more over the top horror comedy and more films that understand what it means to use truly excessive quantities of blood. I've come away genuinely wanting to see what these guys could do with slightly more money; which is fortunate as my disc came with their second foray, Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone, recommended, 7/10.


1 comment:

  1. I've been wanting to watch both of these for a long time... Reading this, I definitely should find a way. Thanks!