Sometimes all it takes is a decent synopsis to sell you on a movie and that is exactly what A Plague So Pleasant (also called The Dead at the Door on Amazon) has.
In the near future, zombies have become a protected, endangered species, held in captivity and legally wandering the streets free. But not everyone feels the dead have a right to exist, and are intent to stop them.
It’s a shame that the film just doesn’t live up to the promises made by that synopsis. However, it still manages to be something different in a tired sub-genre of horror (zombies).
After a beginning that seems designed to test the viewers’ patience for watching irreverent nonsense, the film introduces the main character Clay (David Chandler). He steps out of his house and is faced with three zombies in the street. Rather then run away or grab a weapon, he causally walks past them and gets in his car. The zombies don’t even seem to acknowledge his existence.
A voice-over then informs us that a zombie apocalypse occurred a few years ago. At first it was a bloodbath until it was discovered that if left alone, the dead become docile and don’t attack. The initial chaos and slaughter lasted less then a day and since then humans and zombies have lived in harmony, so to speak.
Now protected by the government, it is illegal to attack a zombie. Many are kept in large enclosures where family members can visit their loved ones.
This is the case for Clay’s sister Mia (Eva Boehnke) who continues to think she is in a relationship with her dead ex-boyfriend. After she rejects his attempt to set her up with someone new, Clay makes a decision. A very bad decision.
One bullet to the head of a zombie is enough to restart the zombie apocalypse.
For many this is where the film will get fun but having sat through enough zombie horrors over the years, this is where A Plague So Pleasant disappoints. Once Clay’s actions cause the zombie masses to start attacking, what we get is standard zombie horror. Clay runs and fights to survive while the sound of sirens echoes constantly in the background.
It’s not a terrible second half but it’s nothing we’ve not seen a hundred times before.
A lot of the praise for this movie goes to David Chandler who does really well in a mostly silent role. Early on, without many words, his expression and body movements makes it clear just what his intentions are. He does a really good job.
The actors portraying the zombies also do pretty well. These deadheads are runners and their snarling, violent style is scary. Early on the makeup looks pretty rough but later we see some great effects that play up the gruesomeness of the dead.
Another praise-worthy thing is how the movie is in black and white up until the fatal gunshot. As the dead come pouring over the hills towards Clay, it transitions into colour. Like a gory Wizard of Oz.
A solid ending caps of a decent zombie movie that would be a modern great if it wasn’t for the disappointing second half. The concept is solid and interesting; the payoff just doesn’t quite nail it.
A Plague So Pleasant
The Final Score - 6.5/10