The Plague (Clive Barker's) (2006)
Trailer-Da Vinci Code, Ultraviolet, Hollow man 2
Trailer-I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, Population 436
|Year Of Production||2006|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||Hal Masonberg|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
James Van Der Beek
John P. Connolly
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.30:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
“At approximately 5:00 Eastern Standard Time, all children around the world under the age of nine have for some unknown reason been cut off from their surroundings. Though they appear to be stable for the moment, they exhibit signs of deep catatonia and are unable to communicate.”
As millions of distraught parents try to come to terms with their children convulsing and foaming at the mouth, doctors and scientists around the globe search desperately for a cure. However, the children are unresponsive to any treatment, so families and society learn to adapt to the catastrophe. Then, leaping forward 10 years, all the children miraculously and simultaneously emerge from their sleep-like state once the population of Earth reaches its critical population mass. With a glazed look in their eyes and a hungering for souls, they set out to re-balance the world’s overabundance of humans.
With Clive Barker’s name proudly presented in the title, I felt a sense of nervous excitement when I pressed play on my remote. Even the fact that brooding goody-two-shoes James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek) had the starring role didn’t dampen my enthusiasm. Besides, Dee Wallace-Stone is always a pleasure to watch regardless of her choice of films since The Howling.
All was going well – the buffed-up Van Der Beek was embracing the alpha male role with mature intensity and the creepy, mysterious nature of the collective illness and its zombie-like after-effects was quite chilling.
My heightened state, however, turned to despair at around the 30-minute mark. What starts out as a fascinating tale tapping into deep-seated fears of innocence turned sour and the Gaia hypothesis in action ends up plunging head-long into a narrative dripping with earth-mother wetness and melodramatics. Rubbing salt into an already open wound, Dee Wallace-Stone’s performance as a distraught mother is so histrionic and her actions so stupid that her character garners absolutely no sympathy. Even Van Der Beek seems unclear about what to do now that some weird mysticism has crept into the plot. He simply races around sweaty and unshaven from one dramatic situation to the next. A truly wasted opportunity.
The Plague is presented in a rather tight aspect ratio of 2.30:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. In keeping with the time-honoured tradition of movie misfires receiving gorgeous transfers, that’s certainly the case here.
Sharp, glossy and beautifully lit, the transfer for The Plague is grain-free and demonstrates no noticeable artefacting. Shadow detail is penetrating and fully complemented by solid and appealing black levels.
Colours are lush and vibrant and the print is as clean as a newborn baby’s bottom.
The white subtitles are easy to read and virtually word-for-word to the spoken dialogue.
While the score is rather routine, the 5.1 mix adds a pleasing aural enhancement to the clichéd telemovie-like meanderings used to heighten and then bookend the many dramatic scenes.
There are a few effective directional effects such as the whispering (35:00, 47:38) emanating from the rears and a little bit later when a duct grating opens behind two of the characters during a sequence in the hospital.
The front-centred dialogue is crisp and clear.
The subwoofer is called upon occasionally to add a slight edge to the bass.
|Surround Channel Use|
These three have a great rapport which makes for an enjoyable listen. While the two actors delight in playfully taking the p*** out of Van Der Beek for most of the commentary, Ed Marx offers some insights into the unsung art of film editing.
Evidently, the original Director was sacked and Hal Masonberg was brought in. Of course, this is not discussed in the commentary.
I listened to the commentary with the sub-titles switched on, but then became obsessed with how many times the participants said - “you know” – either mid or at the end of a sentence. I had to force myself to stop counting after 30 minutes, which ironically is around the same time the film loses its footing.
The preacher welcomes Tom (1:16)
Tom and David talk (3:26)
David feeds Eric (2:24)
Tom and Sam reunion (4:00)
Tom and Jean in hospital (1:06)
Jean nurses Tom (1:38)
Claire kills (1:31)
Jean and Tom are surrounded (3:34)
You don’t need a commentary track to inform you why most of the above were left on the cutting room floor. Apart from the rather intense Clair kills, where she suffocates a little girl with her bare hands, the rest are melodramatic scenes allowing the actors to emote to soap-operatic dialogue.
The Da Vinci Code
Hollow Man 2
I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Apart from trailer, subtitle and language differences, the Region 1 Sony Pictures edition is comparable to our own.
Poaching its sub-narrative themes from Village of the Damned, Night of the Living Dead and Children of the Corn, The Plague had the potential to be a worthy addition to my horror library. Perhaps it was a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth - the film credits 14 Producers, including Clive Barker - that led to the film losing its direction after the first half hour.
|DVD||Pioneer DVR-640H, using S-Video output|
|Display||Yamaha 106cm Plasma. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Speakers||2 x Bose Speakers and 4 NX-S200 Yamaha mini-speakers.|