While in high school, I became a fan of a film entitled The 8th Plague. Fast forward seven years and it is still one of my favorite indie horror flicks. The 8th Plague may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think fans of the horror genre will enjoy what it has to offer.
The 8th Plague is the story of a woman named Launa (Leslie Ann Valenza) who, with the help of some cohorts, is searching for her missing sister, Nikki, after she fails to return from a camping trip. A tiny trail of clues left by Nikki leads Launa to the mountain town of Halcyon Springs – particularly the town’s abandoned correctional facility. Shortly after arriving, Launa is introduced to a mysterious man known as Mason (DJ Perry), who gives a John Wayne-esque monologue detailing the history of the Halcyon Ridge Correctional Facility before leading the way to its remains. Within the walls of the prison lives an ancient evil that turns unfortunate souls who dare to literally read the writing on the walls into demon possessed, flesh devouring zombie-like creatures. Of course once the group reaches the facility, this evil whittles the group down leaving just Launa and Mason to find Nikki. However, the story quickly switches from being a rescue mission to being a game of survival for the duo.
Yes, the abandoned building full of demon zombie creatures has been done numerous times before, but there’s just something about The 8th Plague that causes it to stand out a little more. First of all, for an indie movie, the special effects are so well done it will make any gore lover’s heart swell with joy, especially the eye-gouging scene—that one truly is a work of art. Unlike most B-level horrors, there is never a hose full of blood shooting out of someone’s arm and no ketchup packets were harmed in the making of this film. The bloodshed is always exactly spot on as special consideration was obviously taken to make this tale life-like. Another noteworthy element is the cinematography. The camera angles and the coloring of the film is fantastic. The pictures practically jump off the screen.
If you are not determined to see the film through, it may be slightly difficult to get past the first half hour, but the rest is worth the wait. The slow burn of the story paired with the less than exciting supporting cast can seem a bit tedious, however, the performances of Perry and Valenza bring the movie back to life. DJ Perry is rugged and commanding as the tortured ex-prison guard, Mason, and plays well off of his co-star. Valenza creates a character that female fans will love. She is strong and determined from the beginning instead of growing into the hero like the typical horror movie female.
For an indie film, The 8th Plague works hard to overcome its low budget and is a great addition to any horror fan’s collection.