When we stopped shooting the zombies, they stopped eating us.
One of the great joys of being a movie junkie is when you pop in something you feel virtually certain you will despise and the movie takes a turn you didn't expect and your world opens up. That kind of happened in the absolute minimum way with A Plague So Pleasant (2013), a zombie movie with a twist. Clay (David Chandler) is a survivor of the inaptly named zombie apocalypse. It lasted about a day, but within a few hours, they realized that if you don't attack the zombies, they won't really attack you. Thus, when the carnage ends, it becomes a felony to 'kill' a zombie. His sister Mia (Eva Boehnke) seems to be adjusting well except that she still considers her undead boyfriend a boyfriend rather than an animated corpse. Pretentious roomie Todd (Maxwell Moody) wants to date Mia and, with Clay, decide that the undead boyfriend needs to be made dead-dead. That turns out to be a bad idea.
Let's hand out the gold stars first. The story by writer/co-director Benjamin Roberds is pretty much first class. It's rich with thoughtful ideas that we can apply to all kinds of scenarios personally and politically. The camera work is competent and interesting, if overdone. The technical aspects of the camera itself are incredibly rough, but you can tell from the composition that there's a real eye behind the wheel with cinematographer/co-director Jordan Reyes. The device of monochrome to color to monochrome is neat.
Everything else is on the sub-side of average. The sound is a mess, the dialogue is out of step with the production with Todd's character being a case-in-point, and, as mentioned, the camera is like a bad camcorder--that saturated color...oof--and Reyes uses a distracting amount of tricks that fail to cohere to a consistent vision. The choice for Clay's croaking apathy was annoyingly bad, wasting the cleverness in the voice over and draining the touch of reality the premise relies upon. You couldn't get a decent mic? And that DVD cover is absolutely terrible. A few hours with a camera still and photoshop could have made something less revolting and better reflecting of the movie's style and content. Any tone of anger only comes from a firm belief that this could easily be made into a solid mainstream film with appropriate toning down and good tech.
That said, somehow they convinced someone to let cockroaches crawl out of some dude's mouth. Bravo.
DVD Bonus Features
"Promos" are the only extra.
"A Plague So Pleasant" is on sale September 29, 2015 and is not rated. Horror. Written and directed by Benjamin Roberds.