Clive Barker’s The Plague
Eric S Brown
In a fictional version of 1983, every child under nine years of age on Earth falls into a deep coma with no apparent cause. For the following decade, every additional child born, emerges from the womb in the same slumbering state. Twice each day, these comatose children experience violent seizures. The world falls into a dark economic depression but what can those left alive and awake do but go on with their lives? That is background that Clive Barker’s The Plague is set in. The film opens by explaining all of these things which have came before.
James Van Der Beek’s character, Tom Russel, is released from jail and returns home. Tom wants to atone for his troubled past and make things right with those he has hurt. Before he can however, every single child in the world suddenly awakens. The children who have been asleep for a decade are now little more than zombies determined to wipe out the human race. Tom, his ex-wife, the local sheriff, abd a few others find each other and fight to stay alive. Tom figures out that the children share a sort of hive mind and what one knows or learns, so do all the others. The children destory all the cars in town, learn to use guns in less than twenty four hours, and appear to be devouring the souls and emotions of those they kill.
The performances in the movie are overall very lacking as James Van Der Beek’s is by far the best The Plague has to offer. He manages to channel the regret and need for redemption that his character, Tom, is feeling. No other actor in the film rises above the almost two dimensional level of standard, low budget horror expectations. But that isn’t the Plague’s only problem as a film. The awakened children, who are very zombie like, fail to be as disturbing as they could be. The Plague’s chilling premise just sort of falls flat and into zombie movie cliches rather than living up to its potential. In a scene where a mother is killed while seeing her child awake for the first time in a decade is wasted because of the film’s poor acting.
The Plague was shot on a mediocre budget and released in 2006. For a film with such a powerful and fascinating premirse, it fails to live up to the level of horror it promises. The Plague is by no means a bad movie, it’s merely one that could have been so much more than it was leaving most viewers disappointed and unmoved by the deaths and sacrifices of its characters. Even its sound track lacks real depth and power. One other important thing to note is that despite the movie’s title, it is not based on any of Clive Barker’s novels or stories, instead, Barker was merely its producer.