Starring: Steve Railsback, Alexis Zibolis, Bobby James, Noelle Perris
Director: Brad Sykes
It's a strange feeling when you realise your film watching mood is swinging towards the 'bad' category; is it some form of morbid curiosity at how bad a film really can be? Maybe a sort of challenge to succeed in making your way through from beginning to end? Certainly there is some love for the hilarity involved in the terrible acting and cheap special effects, but whatever the reason, in 'Plaguers' I thought I'd found a real corker. Whatever the name doesn't tell you, and the cliché cover image doesn't indicate, the first ten minutes or so of the film will; it's set in space, there are mutant zombies that want to tear you apart for no apparent reason, and apparently the future is largely populated by attractive women and lazy men who have difficulty keeping their dick in their pants (so no change there). But what you might easily miss at first glance is that actually, against all odds, it ain't half bad.
When a ship travelling back to Earth comes across a distress signal, they decide to board looking for survivors. Uncovering four scantily clad women, they do what any heterosexual males would do; invite them aboard, feed them, make them cry and then watch them sleep calling 'dibs' on which one you get to sleep with. Shame they're actually seductive space pirates, albeit perhaps not the most capable pirates, but it isn't long before they take the crew hostage and conquer the ship, discovering a mysterious alien green orb energy source. Taking a good sniff at the green ooze and shoving her pretty face a little too close to it, she soon mutates into a hideous – well, hideous from the neck up at least – mutant zombie, and soon the entire crew, along with the pirates, find themselves needing to work together in order to survive the new menace that threatens their lives.
There's no sex scene, which for a B-Movie (particularly one containing so many 'starlets' to be shamelessly exploited) almost seems like a critical element that's missing, but it never feels like it really needs one. It's pacing is quick enough that you aren't kept waiting too long for things to get interesting, and the cast are introduced quickly enough that you get a basic grasp of who they are and what their job is on the ship before boredom sets in. You've barely matched names to faces before the action gets under way with everything from nonsensical space babble, plot-holes, cat fights, mutant zombies chasing you like they want a hug, laughable CGI work and the mysterious green orb that looked like it was lifted from “Heavy Metal” to the point that I kept expecting it to suddenly start talking, telling people that it's name was Loc-Nar and that it was the sum of all evils.
The only sensible plot points come lifted from 'Alien' (albeit it should be pointed they are ultimately very different films), the acting comes in at about the same grade as that dodgy porno from the 70s with an opening line of “I'm the plumber, you called me about a hole you need to fill,” and the budget does nothing to help matters; the sets looking unanimous and uninspired, the CGI downright atrocious and only the make-up effects go half way to redeeming themselves. But the acting, despite being almost unanimously awful, still allows you to care for some of the characters; the good doctor who seems to have drawn inspiration from “Data,” from Star Trek and “Bishop” from Aliens and morphed them both into one comparatively well acted package, or Sadie the sadist, maliciously stabbing people and cackling in a manner that – acting or not – you can see is just enjoying her role and so you can't help but chuckle along with her. And that is the critical point in why this film works,; that the cast are clearly aware that they're making a bad film and rather than try to defy the odds and create something “good” from their budget, they're simply having fun with it all. This is precisely how B-Movies should be done, and so long as you don't go in expecting anything more than an hour and a half of campy, cheesy, gory fun, then Plaguers won't disappoint.