The Film (5/5)
I've been expecting this Blu-ray for a few weeks now, but there was a delay in getting them out, with all the time that had passed I had almost forgotten about it. A few nights ago my wife and I went to see Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell for my birthday (excellent BTW, if you haven't see it, see it NOW!), on the way in I checked the mail, and there it was.
I couldn't sleep that night, so after a few hours of struggling I decided to get up and watch something until I was tired. I saw the package from Severin on my kitchen counter, and decided to give Plague Town a shot. I am SO glad I did. Not only is Plague Town one of the best horror films of 2009, but it makes a pretty excellent companion piece to Drag Me to Hell. Obviously, the Raimi film is going for a humorous tone, but both films share a very nihilistic horror vibe.
Plague Town tells the story of the Monohan family, who are on a family trip to Ireland. Jerry Monohan has taken his 2 daughters Jessica and Molly here, along with his new wife to explore the family's Irish roots, while getting the girls used to their new Stepmother. While exploring the countryside with Jessica's new British boyfriend Robin, they- family find themselves trapped in a small village where the townsfolk are strange, and their children are even worse.
Plague Town is David Gregory's feature directorial debut, and he has come out of the gate strong. The film is quite short (88 minutes), but not a minute is wasted. Although, we only get to spend a few minutes getting to know the family before the horror begins to unfold, there is a great sense of character development in that time, that makes you truly sympathize with the family as things take a turn for the worse.
Severin and Dark Sky Films have presented Plague Town on Blu-ray with a 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, and a 1080p AVC encode. The print is clean for the most part, but there is a fair amount of grain throughout the track, but this actually works in favor of the film. Aside from the grain, the print used is pretty clean, especially considering the film's low budget roots.
Plague Town is presented with a DTS-HD 5.1 and PCM Lossless track in English. The audio is where this film really shines. The sound throughout the film is used to great, and eerie effect, and there are a number of sequences that will have you jumping out of your seat. The only reason the audio didn't get a perfect 5, was because although, the audio was used to great effect, there are a few scenes where the dialogue is muddled by other elements, aside from that, a very excellent track.
Plague Town comes to Blu-ray fully loaded. The main extra on the disc is a commentary with the film's director David Gregory and producer Derek Curl. Those who are interested in filmmaking (like myself) should get a lot out of this track. Gregory and Curl go into great detail into the production of the film, which at times sounds more horrifying than the film itself.
The Blu-ray also includes 2 featurettes. The first is called A Visit to Plague Town, and is a half an hour of behind the scenes footage with interviews from the cast and crew of the film. This is followed by The Sounds of Plague Town which is a short featurette that interviews the composer and the sound effects artist on the film. Also, included is David Gregory's student short film Scathed, and the original theatrical trailer for Plague Town.
David Gregory has created one of the best horror films of 2009 with Plague Town, an excellent debut feature which has me excited for more. The Blu-ray is stacked with amazing extras, and a short film, that's about half the length of the feature. This film is a must-see. It is currently playing the festival circuit, and in small independent theaters around the country, and has just been released on both DVD and Blu-ray. If you get the chance I would suggest seeing it in the theater, if you don't have a theater playing it around you, then buy it, or rent it, or go to your friends house who has a copy, because you have to see it!