Epidemic

A deadly pathogen is unleashed and unknowingly carried to Dana Overbeck’s 30th birthday party, where her estranged father, Rufus, is coming to make amends.

Dana (Amanda K. Morales) is a pouty 29.999-year-old set to cross the threshold into the dreaded 30’s. Laying in bed next to her is Mike (Joe Walz), a loving boyfriend who is there to offer support at this difficult time. The two wake, buried in white linens, sun rousing the sleepy couple to life. You see, Dana is estranged from her father Rufus (Andrew Hunsicker). After years of silence, Dana has reached out to him in hopes of a reconciliation on this most auspicious day. Little do the three know that a plague is about to be unleashed on mankind that will put this father/daughter relationship to the ultimate test.

“…a plague is about to be unleashed on mankind that will put this father/daughter relationship to the ultimate test.”

Thus begins the blandly plotted outbreak horror movie, Epidemic. We have seen this movie before, in such films as 28 Days Later, Zombieland, and such TV shows as The Walking Dead. Yet the good news is that for all of its trite trappings, Epidemic boasts some entertaining supporting characters and damned good make-up effects.

Dana and Mike go over to their friend’s place to celebrate 30 times around the sun and this is where things go horribly wrong and right. Mandi (Gina Destra) and Troy (Marquis Valdez) welcome their moody friends into their place while trying desperately to keep themselves off of each other. If it were up to me, I would have a movie featuring just these two characters as they are entertaining and funny as hell. That’s not to mention that the chemistry between Destra and Valdez that is infectiously (pun intended) fun. Unfortunately, this movie needs to get to zombieville and fast. So, Mandi and Troy uncover a hidden pathogen in the basement and they accidentally unleash it on mankind. Derp.

“…some beautifully disturbing moments and nasty bits of business…”

The sickness acts slowly, but soon the spasms and vomiting into other people’s faces start and we are off. Meanwhile, Dana’s father Rufus has decided to pull over and have a drink to calm his nerves. He comes to and upon arrival, discovers his daughter at the party and he decides to be the “dad” by trying to save his daughter.

Overall the performances are adequate, with the stand-outs being Destra and Valdez. What works here is not the story, which is reaching desperately for metaphor. No, the reason to watch this movie are the make-up effects by Sara Poskonka and Steve Saturn. There are some beautifully disturbing moments and nasty bits of business that had me wincing in a good way.

Totally Redbox worthy, Epidemic boasts a mediocre story, satisfying pacing, and make-up effects that stand out when you would be otherwise scratching your head.

Epidemic (2018) Directed by Stephen Michael Giglio. Written By Stephen Michael Giglio, Adam Romanchik. Starring Amanda K. Morales, Joe Walz, Andrew Hunsicker.

5 out of 10 stars

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