Most of my friends are horror fans, but for those rare few who are not, I am watching one horror movie a day during October, culminating in the Walking Dead premier on Halloween. Hopefully, these reviews will help you find some missed gems that may be perfect for your Halloween parties.
The 8th Plague
It Doesn’t Matter If You Believe In Hell…Because Hell Believes In You
2006 – Directed by Franklin Guerrero Jr
Give me the gist of it…
A young woman in search of her missing sister finds an abandoned jail full of dark spirits that posses the living if they glance upon the demonic runes written on the wall.
Care to get a little more in depth?(spoilers)
Launa and her friends go looking for Nikki (Launa’s sister), who mentioned exploring this old jail while camping. They go to the local Sheriff, who is of course a bumbling red neck. He sends his deputy to escort them to the jail, and on the way they pick up a former guard named Mason(more on him later) and the town drunk, who seems to know what’s going on. He rants and raves about “don’t read the walls” and “they can’t get you if you don’t have eyes to see”. Pretty quality foreshadowing there.
So everyone heads into the jail to look for Nikki, but they leave the drunk handcuffed in the car. He meets his end moments later, and not a lot is shown here. I was getting worried at this point, because this is a low budget film, and while I don’t mind low quality film stock, at least give me some gore to balance it out. Fortunately, I was soon placated, and this movie started doing all the right things in the low budget play book.
So naturally, everyone splits up and searches the creepy jail. Crystal and Gavin start exploring the cells and decide this is as good a time as any to have some dirty prison sex. They get naked and Gavin hears a strange sound, so he goes off to investigate, telling the nude Crystal “wait here. I’ll be right back.” Of course, minutes pass and he has not returned. She did have the foresight to get dressed though, and good thing she did, because the monster starts showing up. The following scene is borrowed directly from Evil Dead, and starts the action off. Crystal pokes her head out of the cell, and sees something that scares her. We then begin a chase scene from the monster’s perspective that even uses the same sound effects as the Evil Dead. Crystal runs for it, trips a bunch, and is eventually grabbed form behind. I was expecting her to just scream and die, but she bit the hands of whoever had her and booked it.
So to recap, we have a group of teens, paired off, gratuitous sex scene, and Evil Dead homage. I’m officially starting to enjoy this movie.
We then cut to Mason and Launa. Mason is a former guard, and tells the tale of the riot that closed the prison. He says one guard got a hold of a book full of ancient writings. IN yet another Evil Dead reference, we see him reading form the book, and then people start going bat shit crazy. he says the guy reading the book worshiped some ancient guard of darkness, and has summoned it to the prison. This si the beginning of us finding out what a bad ass Mason is. When we meet him, he’s just some redneck with his shirt off, aimlessly chopping firewood. As soon as the hot city girl shows up asking for help, he knows the score. Her and her friends are going to the prison to fight an Elder God, and all he does is grab his t-shirt and an axe and heads off with them. The balls on this guy.
So at some point, they get separated, and Mason encounters the first “zombie”. I don’t now what else to call them, but they are undead flesh eaters, so we will go with that. Anyways, he thinks it’s Nikki, so he doesn’t want to kill her. So even after she takes a huge bite out of his neck and arm, he just gives her a bewildered stare, and smacks her in the face with the axe handle. When it becomes clear that won’t work, he finally gives her a good chopping and goes to report the good news to Launa.
So we go back to Crystal, who is looking for Gavin, wither so they can escape, or because it’s time for another sex scene, I’m not sure. She finds him and of course he is a zombie, but instead of eating her, he makes her look at some runes on the wall, and she becomes possessed too. SO now we have the basic mechanic involved here;looking at the runes makes you one of them.
What about the deputy you ask? Well let’s deal with him. I forget when this happens so I’ll just throw it in here. He finds some radio tower, but is startled by something, slips on some blood, and knocks himself out on a toilet. Pretty slick. So he comes too and sees a zombie slowly coming towards him, and reaches for his gun, points it at the zombie, and just kind of waits for the zombie to knock it out of his hand. Not sure why, but it did lead to a nice death involving a power drill, so I was ok with it. We had the first really cool death in the movie, and I gave it a nice round of applause.
So Mason finds Launa and brings her down to the body. Turns out it wasn’t Nikki, but her friend Deann. Launa assumes Mason is psycho and freaks out. Gavin walks in and she goes to hug him, but he tries to eat her, so she’s willing to give Mason the benefit of the doubt. Mason begins to hulk out, and disembowels Gavin with his axe, before smacking Gavin right in his stupid mouth with the axe. Up until now, I had no use for Mason. He was just a bad actor with an axe sulking around the place, but he started going postal right around here and I became a fan. Launa got lost in the shuffle, and Mason goes off looking for her like the bad ass he is.
Unfortunately, he turns a corner, and sees a rune inscribed on a wall. Oh no! Mason begins to turn, but decides he’s not going to stand for it, so he stabs himself in the face with a butterfly knife, and the rips out both of his eyes. Read that again and let it sink in. Mason isn’t done though, no sir. He gets up, wraps his t-shirt around his his eyes, picks up his axe and his enormous testicles, and goes off looking for more trouble. From here, he manages to actually kill another zombie blindfolded, before finally being brought down by two others and eaten. I took a drink of whiskey for our fallen hero, and finished the movie.
The rest of the movie is Launa manning up, grabbing an axe and running through the woods like the hardcore fox she is chopping shit up. It takes her a minute to get into the swing of things(ha!) but once she does, she fully morphs into a badass heroin. She finally meets her zombie sister, and manages to kill her in the most tender and loving way you can kill someone with a fire axe. The movie ends with her in a hospital. She is looking through a video camera of her sisters, and they got footage of the symbol, so the movie ends with Launa getting possessed, about to mess some people up.
So who’s in it?
Unkonwns for the most part. The most notable person is probably Syn Devil, who played Deann. You may recognize her form a large variety of low budget horror, including Curse of Pirate Death, which is one of the worst movies you can see.
DJ Perry played Mason, who was in a TON of shit, but he is also a producer and writer, so his name is all over a bunch of genre flicks
Leslie Ann Valenza as Launa. I have not seen her in anything else, but wanted to note that she is by a wide margin the best actor in this thing. According to IMDB, she was in another movie by the same director called Carver, that takes place in the same town, so maybe it’s a sequel of some kind.
So what works in this movie?
It does everything right for a low budget flick. The gore effects are really well done, and makes for some awesome scenes. it pays homages to some older horror movies and contains a lot of the tropes that genre fans love.
What doesn’t work?
The biggest issue for me is the editing. The director could not seem to decide between long establishing shots, or the frenetic quick cuts that seem to be all over today’s action flicks.
The acting was also a bit of an issue. I felt bad for the lead, because she actually showed some talent, but was working with a bunch of stiffs to be honest, and it made her seem like a fish out of water.
Well is it scary?
Nah, but I don’t think it was supposed to be. It’s more a make up and effects driven picture and that’s ok.
What about blood? Is it gory?
Oh yeah, in a great way. The movie opened slow, but by the time Gavin was getting his guts chopped out I was fully on board. For a low budget picture, the make up was very well done.
I had a lot of fun watching this movie. It’s certainly not a great movie, but it is a lot of fun, and if you go into this expecting a low budget film that can make you and your friends smile, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
60 out of 100
The world needs more hot chicks covered in blood running through the woods with a fire axe…
Mason is ridiculous, in all the right ways….