Book Review – Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror

Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror
by Various Authors
Courtesy of Gallery Books
Release Date: October 6, 2015

seize-the-night_hr

When the world fell under the spell of Stephenie Meyer’s TWILIGHT series, my jaw hit the floor in disbelief. I could not believe somebody was trying to make vampires romantic. These creatures are bloodthirsty and vicious, not sensitive and kind. So when this new craze in fiction and movies hit, I lost my appeal for the undead. Thankfully, the fine folks at Gallery Books decided enough was enough, and they set out to publish a book of short stories with teeth…fangs, to be more precise. The result is SEIZE THE NIGHT: NEW TALES OF VAMPIRIC TERROR. And although not every story within is excellent, the book is still crammed full of terrifying fun that fans of horror fiction will definitely want to be a part of.

If you are not familiar with SEIZE THE NIGHT, here is the book’s plot synopsis courtesy of Gallery Books:

A blockbuster anthology of original, blood-curdling vampire fiction from New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors, including Charlaine Harris, whose novels were adapted into HBO’s hit show True Blood, and Scott Smith, publishing his first work since The Ruins.

Before being transformed into romantic heroes and soft, emotional antiheroes, vampires were figures of overwhelming terror. Now, from some of the biggest names in horror and dark fiction, comes this stellar collection of short stories that make vampires frightening once again. Edited by New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden and featuring all-new stories from such contributors as Charlaine Harris, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Scott Smith, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Michael Kortya, Kelley Armstrong, Brian Keene, David Wellington, Seanan McGuire, and Tim Lebbon, Seize the Night is old-school vampire fiction at its finest.

Ah…I have say it feels so good to read some hardcore vampire violence. I was certain the genre was headed for its ultimate demise when the glittery vamps entered the scene and started sweeping people off of their feet. This would have been a great setup, in theory…if the vampires seduced their victims and then took them home for an evening of slaughtering. Alas, that was not the case. But Gallery Books has come to the rescue.

The stories in SEIZE THE NIGHT are all written well and flow at a nice pace. Each author conveys a unique voice, and the majority reach the goal of terrifying the reader through prose. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, not every story is truly chilling. A couple of pieces do not highlight vampires as truly horrifying.

Surprisingly, one of these stories is Charlaine Harris’s “Miss Fondevant”. I was looking forward to this one, because Harris obviously knows vampires…however the toothy menace in this tale is very tame. The story is interesting, but it never elicits any emotion, particularly anything resembling fear.

But there are many great stories worthy of recognition. One of my favorites is “May the End Be Good” by Tim Lebbon. In this tale, a monk tries to help a couple find their daughter in the wilderness. Unfortunately, something else has found the little girl first. I love the dark atmosphere Lebbon creates in this story, and the final sentence will haunt you for a long time.

SEIZE THE NIGHT is a win for me, and I recommend it. While not perfect, it’s still a heck of a read, and I’m glad these writers could make vampires scary again. The book is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

TV Show Review – The Curse of Oak Island, Season 2

The Curse of Oak Island, Season 2
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: October 20, 2015

TheCurseOfOakIsland_S2

Last year, I had the privilege of reviewing the first season of this excellent reality TV show, THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND. As an avid fan of treasure hunting and the thrill of the hunt, this show really piqued my interest. I’m very thankful the fine folks at A&E Home Video and Lionsgate saw fit to continue my obsession by providing me with season two. And just like its predecessor, season two is chocked full of suspense and intensity. This time, however, the mystery deepens with the discovery of new information and a new theory!

If you are not familiar with THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

After their exciting discovery in season 1, brothers Rick and Marty Lagina return to Oak Island and the strange triangle-shaped swamp to look for more clues to this 200-year-old mystery. As they begin excavating the infamous Money Pit, a startling theory comes to light—could the treasures from King Solomon’s Temple have been buried on Oak Island 2,500 years ago? Rick and Marty look for evidence to prove it, drilling deeper into the Money Pit. When a visitor comes to the island suggesting he may have discovered a secret method of getting to the treasure, Rick and Marty bring a team of divers to Oak Island to explore the legendary treasure shaft, 10-X. What they find and where they find it leads them closer to the truth, but will they escape the deadly prophecy?

From a production standpoint, this season looks and feels just like season one. This is not a bad thing, either. The documentary-style presentation works well for conveying the information about the dig and their finds, and the participants themselves provide the drama and the action. This combination of mystery and thrills gives the viewer an entertaining rollercoaster ride of fun.

I am particularly intrigued by the discovery the team makes this season. I do not want to divulge any information, so as to not spoil the surprise…but I’m very eager to see where season three takes the show. The tension in the air as season two ends is as thick as plasma.

THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND, SEASON TWO is another huge win for me, and I recommend giving it a look. The show is still in its infancy, so there’s plenty of time to get in on the action now. I have to wonder how many more seasons the show will last before the team actually discovers whether or not their efforts have been in vain. Regardless of the outcome, the journey to get there is riveting and fun.

MSB

Movie Review – Day 6 (2011)

Day 6
Directed by Varo Venturi
Courtesy of One 7 Movies & CAV Distribution
Original Year of Production: 2011
Release Date: October 13, 2015

day 6

I’m a sucker for a good alien abduction movie. I love to see different takes on the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’ when it comes to extraterrestrials and their fascination with poking and prodding us. But, just like the horror genre, for every good movie you find, there are fifty horrible titles running right along side it. Unfortunately, DAY 6 falls into the negative category here. This film starts with an interesting premise, however the execution falls flat. The result is a dull film that does not entertain or thrill.

If you are not familiar with DAY 6, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of One 7 Movies:

Dr. Piso, a brave scientist, has been studying for years the worrying phenomenon of alien abductions, through an innovative technique of hypnosis. One of his patients, the young Saturnia, a charming aristocratic, will reveal an unexpected case, forcing him to face the shocking reality hidden for millennia behind the scenes of history…Based on revolutionary new scientific theories that disrupt the boundaries of our belief system. Horror and Sci-fi are here counter-phased, in the name of a new cinematographic wave: ‘Sci-real’.

DAY 6 is one of those films that tries real hard to make you like it, but there’s just not much here to like. I have to confess I actually fell asleep TWICE while watching this. Both times I had to rewind, and both times the results were disappointing.

The film looks ok from a production standpoint, but again, there’s not much to it. The sets are primarily just apartments and/or office buildings, but nothing stands out. The cinematography is plain, and the film quality appears to be a couple of ticks above a standard home video camera.

The acting in DAY 6 is mediocre, and there’s no breakout performances from any of the cast. Massimo Poggio plays the main character, Dr. Piso, and he does a decent job. Laura Glavan, who portrays Saturnia/Hexabor of Ur, is very beautfiul, yet her performance is dry. This is the case with pretty much the rest of the cast; although dramatic situations arise throughout the film, I never felt like any of the cast members were in the moment.

The story in DAY 6 is where I have the biggest problem. It is a jumbled mess that never weaves together any cohesion. Several things happen for no reason, and the audience is never clued in as to why. Additionally, every attempt to build tension fails for some reason. I can’t quite figure out why, but there’s never any buildup. This is a huge reason the film does not work for me.

I can’t recommend DAY 6, unless you are looking for a foreign alien abduction film that doesn’t really contain any abductions. The regression hypnosis the doctor uses never really results in anything mind-bending, and the interactions with Hexabor of Ur are uninteresting. The movie tries and tries to conjure up some sort of suspense, but in the end it just fails.

MSB

TV Show Review – Black Sails, Season 2

Black Sails, Season 2
Courtesy of Starz
Release Date: November 3, 2015

black sails

I don’t think I’ve ever stated this on my blog before, but I’m a huge fan of all things pirate-related. Not the campy, Hollywood-envisioned pirates (I’m looking at you, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, even though I love those films, too), but real life, historically accurate marauders. As such, when I heard the fine folks at Starz were airing a series based on realistic buccaneers, I knew I had to give it a look. And I am so glad I did…BLACK SAILS is an amazing series, and it is an absolute epic masterpiece. With beautiful scenery and painstaking realism, this show is the perfect blend of lavish history and rowdy fiction.

If you are not familiar with BLACK SAILS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Starz:

The Walrus crew is stranded with an army of Spanish soldiers standing between them and their precious Urca gold. And with their crimes against their brethren no longer a secret, Flint and Silver must join forces in a desperate bid for survival. Meanwhile, Eleanor Guthrie struggles to maintain her grip on Nassau, as a new breed of pirate arrives in the form of Ned Low, a man for whom violence isn t just a tool…it’s a pastime. As blood is spilled and tensions mount, Charles Vane must decide which he values more: Eleanor’s life or the respect of his men. And unbeknownst to all of them, a prize of immeasurable value has already been smuggled onto the island…one whose discovery will alter the very landscape of their world and force everyone in Nassau toward the ultimate judgement: are they men, or monsters?

Make no mistake: this show does not have swashbuckling pretty-boys in loafers, swinging from the mast of a ship by ropes while dueling with a eye-oned bad guy. No, this is a gritty, day-to-day glimpse at how a pirate crew could have (and probably did) live back then. This stark realism is a big part of what makes this show so good.

BLACK SAILS is shot well and appears to have a high production budget. As I mentioned above, the attention to detail is excellent. No expense is spared when it comes to making each scene look authentic. The sole discrepancy I could find in this regard is the clothing; I saw a couple of outfits I didn’t think actually fit into the time period. But I’m not very well versed on clothing styles through the centuries, so I won’t officially call this out.

The acting is superb, with Toby Stephens portraying the main character, Captain Flint. Stephens has recently become one of my favorite actors, due in large part to this role. I don’t think anybody else could have played the part as well as he does. Likewise, Zach McGowan does an excellent job as Flint’s rival, Captain Vane. McGowan also owns this role, and no substitute could probably ever be found for him. The rest of the cast does a fine job as well, with several notable names (I will not list them all here, as there are many).

The storyline in BLACK SAILS is intriguing and enthralling. Each episode unleashes more drama and more intensity as the plot unfolds. This is another positive for the show, and it’s another key component to my enjoyment. I daresay this writing is some of the finest on television today.

Season two starts off with a bang, and the intensity never lets up. It picks up immediately where season one leaves off, and the story continues on at a constant pace from there. A couple of minor twists occur here and there, but nothing considerably crazy happens. Thankfully, the writing continues to excel as the season progresses.

BLACK SAILS is a huge win for me, and I highly recommend this addictive historical fiction series to everyone. Don’t let the kids watch this, however…it is rated Mature for good reason. There’s a boatload of sex and profanity, which explains why the show is on Starz. Nevertheless, it’s a heck of a show and a heck of a lot of fun. Season two hits store shelves next Tuesday, so make a note.

MSB

Movie Review – The Sand (2015)

The Sand
Directed by Isaac Gabaeff
Courtesy of Monarch Home Entertainment
Release Date: October 13, 2015

the sand

After I watched THE SAND, I trekked around the Web a bit to see what other people thought about it. I personally loved it; the film embodies every single thing that attracts me to creature-features. Interestingly, however, reviews from other sources are pretty mixed. I’m not sure what these folks were expecting, but you can’t go into a movie like THE SAND and expect an Academy Award Winner. You have to take films like this for what they are: simple, gory fun. If you enjoy films like these (as I do), then you’re in for a real treat here.

If you are not familiar with THE SAND, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Monarch Home Entertainment:

After a raging all-night party, a group of hung over twenty-somethings rise to a beating sun and a carnivorous beach that devours anything with a heartbeat.

The premise of this film is so simple, and yet that is part of what makes it so much fun. There’s no big setup, no elaborate plan that has to fall into place. Just a party on the beach that results in fatal consequences.

THE SAND is shot well and looks like a bigger-budget picture onscreen. The single set location allows the story to progress quickly without the need to highlight the differences in locales. I greatly enjoy films that can pack so much intensity and terror into one physical spot, such as DEVIL (in the elevator), FROZEN (the Anchor Bay horror flick set on the ski-lift, NOT the Disney version), and PONTYPOOL.

The acting in THE SAND is pretty good, although I have to confess some of the casting decisions surprise me. For example, Hector David Jr, who plays Vance, has been in several incarnations of the popular Power Rangers franchise. Also, the likable every-guy Mitch is played by Disney-series alum Mitchel Musso, who fans will recognize from HANNAH MONTANA and PAIR OF KINGS. These are not bad casting choices, as everybody does a great job with their roles…however it is interesting to see these guys in roles outside of kids’ shows.

The special effects are really the only negative aspect of THE SAND, and they are not really that bad. They don’t look crappy, however it is very obvious in many scenes that they are computer generated. As I’ve said before in previous reviews, I understand budget constraints can force a production crew to shy away from practical effects…however, they should be a primary focus for a horror film. Still, the effects in THE SAND look decent enough and are very passable.

THE SAND is a win for me, and I recommend it to anyone who likes a good creature-feature. This lower-budget gem is a lot of fun, and it would make a great addition to your Halloween viewing.

MSB

Book Review – King of the Bastards by Brian Keene and Steven Shrewsbury

King of the Bastards
by Brian Keene & Steven Shrewsbury
Courtesy of Apex Publications
Release Date: July 21, 2015

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00021]

Fantasy is a fiction genre loaded with memorable titles and series that have influenced big name authors for decades, and yet it is also full of some of the most copied tropes in literature. While this is not necessarily a bad thing in many cases, it can get rather dull after a while. Thankfully, there are tales here and there that break this mould and offer readers something they haven’t seen (or only seen very little of). Such is the case with KING OF THE BASTARDS, a recent release from Apex Publications. This rousing sword and sorcery tale is not perfect, but it’s very good, and fantasy fans will want to check this one out soon.

If you are not familiar with KING OF THE BASTARDS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Apex Publications:

Part sword and sorcery, part extreme horror, King of the Bastards is wild adventure across seas, beaches, and mountains full of horrifying monstrosities, dark magic, and demonic entities.

Rogan has been many things in his life as an adventurer — a barbarian, a thief, a buccaneer, a rogue, a lover, a reaver, and most recently, a king. Now, this prehistoric bane of wizards and tyrants finds himself without a kingdom, lost in a terrifying new world, and fighting for his life against pirates, zombies, and the demonic entity known as Meeble. And even if he defeats his foes, Rogan must still find a way to return home, regain his throne, save his loved ones, and remind everyone why he’s the KING OF THE BASTARDS.

I am chagrinned to admit I’m not familiar with either author’s works prior to this one. But judging from the level of entertainment I garnered from this book, I am definitely going to read both in the future.

KING OF THE BASTARDS is written well and flows at a nice pace. It measures in at only 163 pages, so it’s a rather short read, but there’s plenty of action and intensity packed inside. From the cover art to the final page, readers will enjoy themselves with this one.

The characters are bold and vibrant, with Rogan as the larger-than-life titular anti-hero. Rogan is the ‘man’s man’, a warrior and conqueror that bard’s sing about. But whereas many heroes in song are exaggerated, Rogan’s deeds are all real. He has been everywhere, done everything (and everyone, in certain countries). I likened his character to Patrick Rothfuss’s Kvothe, in that he’s a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

The story in KING OF THE BASTARDS is pretty straight forward, but that does not stop it from taking the reader on a heck of a ride. Chocked full of brutal battles and witty dialogue, the plot never strays from its intended goal. The conclusion has a nice twist (I NEVER saw coming), and wraps up nicely. I don’t know if Rogan is a character in other stories or books, but I’d daresay he would warrant a whole series devoted to his name.

My sole complaint about the book is that Rogan’s mannerisms and dialogue go out-of-character towards the end of the book. This is odd, because it almost feels like the second author wrote the ending while the first author wasn’t looking. This threw me off a bit, but it wasn’t enough to detract from the story, thankfully.

Still, KING OF THE BASTARDS is a heck of a read, and I recommend it. As mentioned, it’s a short book so it doesn’t take long to get through, but it’s packed with fun all the way. Give this a look for sure.

MSB

TV Show Review – Red vs. Blue, Season 13

Red vs. Blue, Season 13
Courtesy of Cinedigm
Release Date: October 13, 2015

red vs blue

I’ve been a huge fan of the Halo franchise for many years now. Right behind DOOM, it’s my second favorite first-person shooter video game. But in addition to a game, the story and mythology are fascinating as well; they have spawned a series of books, as well as several live-action and animated movies to date. So imagine my surprise when I discovered a comedy series had been created using footage from the game itself. That’s right…comedy.

RED VS. BLUE is the brainchild of Rooster Teeth Productions, and it is nothing short of amazing. The premise started off simple: two teams of Spartans, one Red and one Blue, each have a base in a valley, and they skirmish every now and then as each tries to overtake the other. But hilarity ensues when things go wrong (as they always do), and the result is a top-notch series you have to see to believe.

If you are not familiar with RED VS. BLUE, SEASON 13, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Cinedigm:

The sim-troopers of Blood Gulch have seen their fair share of insanity over the years, but they’ve never faced anything quite like this. Stranded on the planet Chorus, the Reds and Blues must convince two enemy armies to join forces or suffer complete annihilation at the hands of a bloodthirsty war lord. As the final installment in the critically acclaimed Chorus Trilogy, Red vs. Blue: Season 13 is as hilarious as it is thrilling. Between deadly mercenaries, alien artifacts and old rivalries, our hapless heroes are in for the fight of their lives in the longest running sci-fi/comedy series in American history, Red vs. Blue.

I have to give a disclaimer up front: although the show is animated (using video game animation), it is an adult show. It has strong language throughout and should not be considered a kid’s show by any means.

Over the years, the show has evolved into more of a comedy/action/drama hybrid. When it started, RED VS. BLUE was straight-up comedy. But now, with Season 13, things are much deeper. This is not a bad thing at all; in fact, I found it intriguing to see more depth. I am just as enthralled with the show as before, but now in different ways.

RED VS. BLUE, SEASON 13 is shot well, and the animation looks great. The characters are crisp onscreen, and the dialogue is just as sharp as it has always been.

The storyline continues where Season 12 left off. Season 13 is the final installment of the Chorus Trilogy, although the show does leave open the potential for future episodes. I hope the creators continue the series, as it seems to get better with time.

RED VS. BLUE, SEASON 13 is a major win for me, and I recommend it. If you’ve never experienced RED VS. BLUE, I suggest giving it a look now. But start as far back as you can go and move forward to catch up; you can jump in and start watching Season 13, but you’ll enjoy the experience more if you know what’s going on beforehand. Season 13 is available now in a variety of formats, so give it a look.

MSB

Movie Review – Bloody Knuckles (2015)

Bloody Knuckles
Directed by Matt O’Mahoney (as Matt O.)
Courtesy of Artsploitation Films
Release Date: October 27, 2015

bloody

Horror comedies never get old for me. I love movies that can make me smile and cringe, especially when a nice amount of gore is thrown in for good measure. BLOODY KNUCKLES is one of these films. It is a heck of a lot of fun, and it’s a great flick all the way around. I laughed so hard at some points that I had to pause the movie to catch my breath. Even so, this film won’t be for everyone; it has some pretty offensive stuff that might anger certain folks. But if you can look past that, and take the film for what it is, you’ll have a blast.

If you are not familiar with BLOODY KNUCKLES, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Artsploitation Films:

Travis, an underground comic book artist with a penchant for obscene caricatures, upsets a Chinatown crime lord who responds by cutting off the young man’s hand. As a despondent, drunken Travis wallows in post-severed hand depression, his decomposing limb returns to life and is determined to exact revenge. Soon, Travis and his mischievous appendage join forces with a masked S&M superhero to rid the city of evil. Filmmaker Matt O.’s debut feature strips Canada of its “land of nice” image with this deliriously offensive, gory, and happily un-PC horror-comedy!

I haven’t enjoyed a good severed-hand film this much since IDLE HANDS. Not that I’ve seen many severed-hand flicks since, but…well, you get the point. This film is as crazy as it is shocking, and you’ll probably want to watch it more than once. I can definitely see myself revisiting this one soon.

BLOODY KNUCKLES is shot well and looks good from a production standpoint. It appears to have a modest budget, and the production crew does a great job utilizing the funds available.

The acting is great, with Adam Boys in the role of the comic book artist who loses his hand. I am not familiar with him, however I hope to see more of his work in the future. He is supported by a great cast that includes Kasey Ryne Mazak as the evil Leonard Fong; Ken Tsui as Tavis’s half-brother, Ralphie; Dwane Bryshun as Homo Dynamous; and several others.

The special effects are outstanding, and they are big part of what makes BLOODY KNUCKLES so good. I love how the effects guys gave the hand a personality of its own; this severed appendage is a major smart-ass, but it is also as creepy as it is funny.

BLOODY KNUCKLES is a major win for me, and fans of horror comedies will definitely want to check this one out. Chocked full of good old gory fun and a whole lot of laughs, this is a film you’ll revisit several times, just to enjoy it over and over. The film hits stores tomorrow, so make a note.

MSB

Movie Review – Julia (2015)

Julia
Directed by Matthew A. Brown
Courtesy of Archstone Distribution
Release Date: October 23, 2015 (theaters)

Julia-2014-movie-poster

To me, one of the most heinous crimes humankind can commit is rape. It is an abominable act that robs innocence and can leave both mental and physical scars. Because it is so horrific, the act therefore makes an interesting subject matter for horror flicks. I like rape-revenge movies because they almost always give the rapists what they deserve: gory and horrifying dismemberments and, in some cases, death.

JULIA is a newly released film in this genre, courtesy of Archstone Distribution. It is dark and gritty, an atmospheric piece that shocks and surprises. And although it does not bring anything new to the table, the film is still potent and entertaining.

If you are not familiar with JULIA, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Archstone Distribution:

A neo-noir revenge thriller centering on Julia Shames, who after suffering a brutal trauma, falls prey to an unorthodox form of therapy to restore herself.

I will admit this is not an excellent film, but it is very good nonetheless and certainly worth watching. The few spots where it is lacking are forgivable, especially when considering this is director Matthew A. Brown’s feature-length debut (according to his IMDB page). I look forward to his future projects, and I cannot wait to see his talents bloom.

JULIA is shot very well, and the cinematography helps set the dark tone for the film. Unfortunately, the camera quality gives the film a grainy look, which does not help at all during the darker scenes. Thankfully, this only happens a couple of times, and it does not detract much from the entertainment experience.

The acting is great, with Ashley C. Williams portraying the titular character. She presents a varying emotional range and thus gives a very believable performance as a victim-turned-vigilante. She is supported by a talented cast that includes Tahyna Tozzi, Joel de la Fuente, and Jack Noseworthy.

The story is a pretty typical empowerment plot, however it does come with a couple of twists. Julia is ‘helped’ by a mysterious doctor, who uses a group of previous female patients to coach her. The coaching involves doling out justice to would-be rapists and sleazebags, however she is instructed to never try to take revenge on her attackers. But this is never fully fleshed out, and therefore the questions that remain in the viewer’s mind after the credits roll only hurt the story. For example, what does the doctor’s past have to do with his current methodology (we are given a one-sentence explanation at the end, but it makes no sense)? And given the amount of carnage the group inflicts on strangers, why should a victim not confront her attackers?

Yet despite the lingering questions, JULIA is still entertaining to watch, and I recommend giving it a look. It is not on the same level as I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, but it strives to be. This film showcases the talents of an up and coming director, and I will wager we will be seeing more of him in the future. JULIA hits select theaters today, so make a note.

MSB

Movie Review – A Plague So Pleasant (2015)

A Plague So Pleasant
Directed by Benjamin Roberds
Courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing
Release Date: September 29, 2015

a plague

I am so thankful there are directors out there who can still find new takes on the zombie genre. Now, don’t get me wrong: I love straight-up zombie movies as much as the next guy; and THE WALKING DEAD is my favorite show on TV right now. But when somebody can bring something new to the table…well, that’s a true talent. Such is the case with A PLAGUE SO PLEASANT, a recent release from Wild Eye Releasing. This low budget gem is a nice detour from the standard zombie fare most of us are used to.

If you are not familiar with A PLAGUE SO PLEASANT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing:

In the near future, zombies have become a protected, endangered species, held in captivity and legally wandering the streets free from harm by the living. But for the loved ones of those who die, sometimes coping is just too much to handle, especially when not everyone feels the dead have a right to exist, and are willing to break the law to rid the world of this new population of the dead.

This film is not perfect, but it’s full of heart and talent. And despite working with a shoestring budget (I heard they shot the whole film for only $3,000), the production team does an amazing job in putting everything together.

A PLAGUE SO PLEASANT is shot well, and the camerawork looks good onscreen. The film is presented in black-and-white, though, which threw me a bit. I’m not sure why this was chosen, but I suppose it works as a whole; it just seems…odd. But thankfully, it’s not a big detractor.

The acting is about what you’d expect from a low budget film, but it’s pretty good, thankfully. I am not familiar with the cast, but they do a fine job in their roles.

The special effects are, once again, decent for a low budget picture. And now that I think about it, I would imagine they are the reason for the black-and-white presentation. Cheaper effects actually look better in B&W than in color.

But the story in A PLAGUE SO PLEASANT is the real winner here. This is not a typical zombie-genre style plot. I love how the dead are an endangered species in the film, and the lengths to which the government goes in an attempt to protect them. One sign on a fence even states “PICK POCKETING THE UNDEAD IS CONSIDERED GRAVE ROBBING AND WILL BE PROSECUTED.” Very good stuff.

As such, I really enjoyed A PLAGUE SO PLEASANT, and I recommend it. Keep your expectations realistic (don’t get into it expecting a WALKING DEAD budget), and you should thoroughly enjoy it. I see bigger and better things in the production team’s future, so I cannot wait to see what they do next.

MSB