The post-apocalyptic genre’s popularity from a storytelling standpoint by taking a specific set of survivors, strip everything away from them, force them to be resourceful to survive, and bring them to the point of killing one another. Your final product is simplistic beauty, intense drama, and a big bloody climax.
In Federico Torrado Tobón’s The Plague, the humanity is dying because of an infection plague. His story casts a pair of teen siblings to fend for themselves in a cabin in the woods. Julie (Casey Burke) and Julian (Dylan Riley Snyder) rely heavily on one another for survival. Daily activities include getting water from the river, hunting rabbit, and maintaining the house. They spend every second together for the sake of both physical and psychological protection.
“…the emotional pressure builds to the point they have to act on it.”
Their close bond is threatened when they come across a strange young girl, Emily (Stephanie C. Allan). Unlike our pair, she is alone, and as the genre demands, she may have a secret. But secrets aside, The Plague presents an interesting love triangle. Love where the familial and romantic come into conflict, as Julian confronts his romantic crush with Emily and Jules struggles to cope with the possibility that her relationship with her brother is about to change for the worse. And what about Emily?
The nice thing about this genre is low-production costs: a house in the woods, actors, crew. The Plague takes advantage of its location and story, beautifully explore the complexity of teen relationships. Here our adolescents’ emotions are heightened and a little out of control in the sense that none of the three can verbally process their feelings in any useful way. Because they don’t understand their feelings, they don’t talk about it and the emotional pressure builds to the point they have to act on it.
Tobón’s short film runs at a leisurely pace. He slowly turns up the heat in order to serve a wonderful meal with the sweet but tragic end.
The Plague (2017) Written and directed by Federico Torrado Tobón. Starring Casey Burke, Dylan Riley Snyder, Stephanie C. Allen. The Plague screened at the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Latinx and Hispanic Spotlight event.
8 out of 10 stars