Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone (2001)

DVD Cover (Fangoria International)
Pablo Parés Pablo Parés
Hernán Sáez Hernán Sáez
Berta Muñiz Berta Muñiz
Pablo Parés Pablo Parés
Hernán Sáez Hernán Sáez
Paulo Soria Paulo Soria
Esteban Podetti Esteban Podetti
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6.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Horror Comedy, Zombie Film
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Review by Chad
Added: December 01, 2005
When I think of foreign zombie films, Argentina isn't one of the first exporters to come to mind. Italy and Japan have had their fair share of zombie films, and we've seen the occasional export from the UK, Germany, New Zealand, and even Ireland. But Argentina...? Well, we can now add them to the zombie exporter list, and what a damned fine movie to kick things off.

A sequel to Plaga Zombie, this movie picks up where the first movie (apparently) left off. I say apparently because I've yet to see the original... hey, cut me some slack, it's not out on DVD in America to the best of my knowledge. Anywho, we're treated to a bit of back-story to set things into motion, and said back-story revolves around aliens cutting a deal with the FBI. You see, the aliens want to test a new virus that they've been working on, and of course, this virus requires human guinea pigs to test on. In exchange for the cooperation of us earthlings, the aliens promise protection from the other alien races roaming the great beyond. The virus turns humans into zombies, so naturally, the FBI agrees to this plan and directs the aliens to a small, remote town where we meet our heroes for this evening. Leading the pack is Bill Johnson (director Pablo Parés), a failed medical student with a lot of questions regarding the ongoing events. His friend John West (Berta Muñiz) is by his side, and what a good person to be teamed up with he turns out to be. You see, John West is a huge bear of a man, and he also happens to be both a cowboy and an ex-wrestling champion. John West is not a man to be messed with, as the zombies soon find out (the repeated usage of his full name makes much more sense after hearing his theme song... yes, he has his own theme song). Rounding out our odd group of heroes is Max Giggs (fellow director Hernán Sáez), a geeky (and deranged) mathematician who takes sadistic pleasure from disposing of the zombie hordes. The three must fight their way out of this testing ground, but the zombies simply see them as another meal and make their escape quite difficult.

I suppose the fact that one of the heroes of the film is a professional wrestler should have clued me in to the fact that this was going to feature a dash of humor, but little did I know that it would actually end up featuring much more comedy than horror. You see, this movie is much more along the lines of Dead Alive than Dawn Of The Dead; sure, there's plenty of zombie action and even more gore, but it's all done in that same tongue-in-cheek style of humor that made Peter Jackson famous amongst zombie fans. Where else can you see a zombie pull out its own intestines and spray the hero with feces, before being tied to a tree with said intestines? Are there any other films out there where a zombie falls prey to the classic "look up" trick before being stabbed through the throat? If you get a kick out of those types of things, you'll find no shortage of entertainment from this disc.

Now, that's not to say that all of the humor comes at the expense of the undead. Sure, they manage to bring out a good amount of laughs, but it's the three heroes that really make this movie work. Each of the men are excellent actors and have perfect timing with their line-delivery and mannerisms, and each character is given ample time to shine. Even though Bill is the leader of the group, neither of the other two men are pushed to the side and each bring their own little something to the table. Finally, there's no way that I could finish this paragraph without pointing out the John West theme song. This really has no relevance to the overall film (it's shown in one scene and then pretty much forgotten), but this had to be one of the funniest scenes in any movie, ever. Watching a near seven-foot, 350-pound man square-dancing with a skinny geek to the tune of a song which celebrates a professional wrestler and is eerily reminiscent of "Happy Happy, Joy Joy" is not something you're going to see very often, and in this film, it's beautifully done. If you aren't laughing like a fool by the time this scene wraps up, you are not human.

If George Romero had decided to cast The Three Stooges in one of his zombie films, the result would have been something like this. The effects, while far from the worst I've seen, aren't top-notch... so, don't go in expecting a billion-dollar budget. There's some very nicely done scenes and effects, but there are a few things here and there that will remind you that this was probably shot on a pretty low budget. Personally, I enjoyed the hell out of it, but your mileage may vary. 9/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 12/01/2005, 06:23 PM
This looks rather interesting...looks like I might have to do some purchasing...
Chad #2: Chad - added 12/01/2005, 10:00 PM
It's $10 at Best Buy for the double-disc special edition... highly recommended if you can tolerate subtitles and enjoyed Shaun Of The Dead or Dead Alive. Just wish the other four movies in the series would get an American release.
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