Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 12th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2008
Director: David Gregory
Writers: David Gregory, John Cregan
Cast: Josslyn DeCrosta, Erica Rhodes, David Lombard, Lindsay Goranson, James Warke, Catherine McMorrow, Elizabeth Bove, Michael Donaldson, Kate Aspinwall
BluRay released: May 12th, 2009
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS HD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
BluRay Release: Dark Sky Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: An Irish American family gets more than they bargained for when they try to get in touch with their heritage.
Plague Town was co-written and directed by David Gregory who over the last decade is best known for directing documentaries for numerous cult / obscure film’s that have been released on DVD by such companies like Blue Underground, Anchor Bay, Dark Sky Films and Severin Films. The screenplay for Plague Town was co-written by John Cregan, a frequent collaborator of David Gregory’s and one of the mastermind’s behind of Severin Films. The score for Plague Town was composed by Mark Raskin (another frequent collaborator of David Gregory’s), who also composed the score for David Gregory’s short film Scathed. Mark Raskin’s score for Plague Town lends itself perfectly to the look and feel of the film. The score for Plague Town also features a musical motif that Claudio Gizzi (What?, Flesh for Frankenstein, Blood for Dracula), composed specifically for the film. The soundtrack also features a song titled “Discotraxx” from Ladytron an electronic band from the UK. The Ladytron song has disco /euro-cult vibe to it that is reminiscent of the type of sound often employeed in many Italian genre film’s from the late 1970’s and ealry 1980’s.
At the core of Plague Town is a good old fashion horror film that evenly paces its scares and effectively builds tension by quickly isolating its lead character Molly Monohan. Visually the film fully exploits the rural locations with its dimly lit night time photography that reveals just enough, but never too much. The death scenes in the film are all well done, bloody and gruesome. One of the best parts of the film is the disfigured children who terrorize the family who find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere. Even though the characters in the film are pretty standard persona’s that are often found in countless horror films. The performances from the bulk of the cast far exceeded my expectations. The two performances that are most memorable are Josslyn DeCrosta in the role of Molly Monohan and Kate Aspinwall in the role of Rosemary one of the deformed children who are knocking off Molly’s family one by one. Ultimately Plague Town is a genuinely creepy film that will hold your attention until its bleak climax.
Plague Town comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. The bulk of the film takes place during the night time and while details generally look crisp there are a handful of instances where the image looks soft / hazy. The film was shot on a 16mm and grain is noticeable but never intrusive. The opening moments before night fall are the only moments where any colors ever standout. During these opening moments colors look nicely saturated and flesh tones look accurate. While this transfer is not going to be one that is going to wow you, it is a more than adequate presentation that faithfully retains the look of the film.
This release comes with two audio options DTS HD 5.1 English audio mix and a Dolby Digital Stereo English audio mix. Both audio mixes sound full, balanced and dialog is clear throughout. Of course the audio is at its best when something bad is going to happen and during these moments the sound effects / music cues are pitch perfect. Removable English, French and Spanish subtitles have been included.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 17 seconds), two featurette’s “a Visit to Plague Town” (28 minutes 35 seconds) and “The Sounds of Plague Town” (16 minutes 9 seconds). These two featurette’s are detailed recounts from cast and crew about their various experiences working on this film. The main extra included with this release is an audio commentary with director David Gregory and producer Derek Curl. This audio commentary is a fascinating track that in which both participants have plenty to say about the film, including a revealing story about an actor they desperately tried to cast in the film. Also included with this release is a short film also directed by David Gregory titled “Scathed” (40 minutes 45 seconds – 1.33:1 full frame). Overall Plague Town gets a fully loaded release from Dark Sky Films, recommended.