“Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone” – Chris Luedtke

There’s nothing wrong with having fun while making a movie. Take, for instance, zombie films, where blood, guts, and sheer mayhem are just a few of the general expectations people have going in. When endorsed by Fangoria itself, these become more than expectations; they become law. Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone delivers on these parameters with original characters and a touch of zaniness, but that’s not to say the film still wasn’t as dry as the desert heat.

Who would’ve guessed that evil aliens and the FBI would join forces to plot against the world? That’s just the case in Plaga Zombie, in which some invaders have unleashed a deadly virus upon the globe. Quarantined in a town beset by the ensuing zombie uprising are three oddball heroes: professional wrestler John West (Berta Muñiz), computer expert Max Giggs (co-director Pablo Parés), and medical student Bill Johnson (co-director Hernán Sáez). With no idea where to go, the boys band together and fight to survive long enough to figure out what’s behind the outbreak.

Plaga Zombie is about as systematic as zombie flicks get. It’s just ridiculous, and Fangoria’s involvement only adds to the chaos. The intro scene is all the proof we need that the film has no intention of taking itself seriously. The picture of the aliens and the feds may just send you to the floor laughing. Beyond the highly entertaining introduction, our three heroes await us, but the film doesn’t quite measure up to its initial good times.

Viewers are soon tossed into the insanity, and from then on out, they don’t get many breaks from it, either. John, Max, and Bill are constantly fending off zombies in long, drawn-out action sequences. Oftentimes they’re extremely entertaining; zombies are impaled and ripped apart at every turn. The gore looks horribly discolored most of the time, but it doesn’t detract from the pleasures watching pandemonium unfold. The make-up is state of the art for the low of budget; white faces may follow you to bed afterward, though the designs look alright for a B-zombie film.

But when it comes to glaring flaws, Plaga Zombie is as ravaged as the film’s own setting. It’s more than just the cheap zombies, I swear. Turning down the contrast on my TV set just dirtied the color and improved nothing. Never have I seen this happen with a movie, and it was sickening to look at. Sets are drowned in grime, and we have to squint on occasion to see what the undead chaos is yielding. The nighttime sequences are done well, but they feel wasted since not much happens after dark. It also sucks because these scenes tend to center more on character connection, which we usually wouldn’t care about, until this film decides it wants us to care about the heroes in the second half. By this point, I wondered, “Why bother?”

Plaga Zombie is typical zombie chow. One can argue that it has an original plot, which it sort of does, but it was hardly here, and when it did finally blossom like a weed through the crack of a sidewalk, I rolled my eyes and moved on with life. This isn’t an incredible film. It’s great fun for the first half but stumbles in the second until it lands flat on its face. I wouldn’t deter one from checking it out, but it’s far from a recommendation.

Rating: ★★☆☆

-Chris Luedtke

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