Director – Emily Hagins (Scare Package, My Sucky Teen Romance)
Starring – Rose Kent-McGlew (Zombie Girl: The Movie), Alex Herskowitz (Zombie Girl: The Movie), and Tiger Darrow (Holy Hell, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D)
Release Date – 2006
Rating – 2/5
Blu Release – 3/5
I’m a huge fan of indie and no-budget horror from the early to mid-2000s. I started collecting movies around this time adding movies from companies like Brain Damage, Alternative Cinema, and the likes. Lately several boutique labels are re-releasing several of these films on blu along with several unreleased special features.
A few months back AGFA and Bleeding Skull announced the release of Emily Hagins’ Pathogen from 2006 along with a documentary about the make of. I’m familiar with Hagins and her films so I was very curious about it. I snagged a copy when pre-orders went live and when I was working through some of Vin Syn’s partner label releases I decided to finally check it out.
**Spoiler alert** The film follows a group of teens who find themselves at the center of a zombie outbreak when several students and their family members become ill. Soon they are fighting for their lives when friends and loved ones are now hellbent are ripping them apart. **Spoiler Alert**
Pathogen is not a good film. It’s not and anyone that has seen it knows it’s not. What makes this one so special is that it was made by a group of pre-teens that shot something that looks better than most other films made by filmmakers from the same time.
The acting in this one is very inexperienced but the cast’s dedication to their roles is something that most other indie films lack. They really did try their best but their inexperience shows in each scene making it awkward most of the time. I wanted to enjoy it but I found myself really wanting the scene to end.
The story for this one is simple and almost overdone during the mid-00’s with so many no budget filmmakers tackling similar stories. Infected water, food, and so on has been the catalyst for so many zombie flicks and the early 2000 horror films were no exception. It wouldn’t be until the release of The Walking Dead that this story would be run into the ground but it was still a very common plot point for decades. Pathogen is a bit predictable and uneventful but it’s fairly well put together and edited.
Finally, the film has some blood and light make-up effects but nothing that will stick with you after viewing it. Overall, Pathogen is impressive when you consider the cast and crews age and experience but the film is honestly difficult to finish. As a collector I’m proud to own this one but it’s not a film I can recommend.
Region Free Blu-ray
Preserved from the original digital video master
Commentary with director Emily Hagins & Bleeding Skull’s Annie Choi
Cast and crew Q&A from the 2006 theatrical premiere
Short: PARTY KILLER (2007), directed by Emily Hagins
Bonus movie: ZOMBIE GIRL: THE MOVIE (2009), a feature-length documentary on the making of PATHOGEN, directed by Justin Johnson, Aaron Marshall, and Erik Mauck
English SDH subtitles