While far from flawless, “Epidemic” remains a worthy achievement — a great looking, entertaining, and unique indie horror film deserving of your time.
Every now and then there are films that come along which retain a plethora of hidden talent and potential. While those films don’t always meet their desired destination, they occasionally offer up some rare, untapped horror elements to their viewers.
Epidemic is a 2018 horror film written by Stephen Michael Giglio and Adam Romanchik, and directed by Stephen Michael Giglio. The film stars Amanda K. Morales, Gina Destra, Mike Sutton, Andrea Helfrich and Andrew Hunsicker as Rufus. All hell breaks loose after a deadly pathogen is accidentally unleashed and unknowingly carried to Dana’s (Morales) 30th birthday party.
Epidemic is about family relations and an alcoholic father trying to reunite with his daughter. It’s about addiction and how things can spiral and get completely out of hand, turning into a disease, when trying to make yourself feel good. It’s about how things can go completely wrong even when you’re feeling on top.
While there are a lot of misses in this film, there are actually some potently substantial hits as well.
The film felt experimental in a lot of areas, but also additionally shined in a few a parts. There were a variety of plot holes and character holes throughout, but overall it was a sincerely interesting watch. Some of the aspects weren’t as precise as one would hope, however there were some truly solid genre moments attached.
For one, the gore and special effects makeup were really powerful, helping the film to stay afloat amongst a mucky plot. The frighteningly appalling appearance of the infected victims is something you don’t expect to find in a low budget film like this.
The zombie-like characters were absolutely terrifying; the stuff of nightmares. However, the downside is that it felt as if they spent too much time and concentration the look of the infected and not enough attention to the story and subplots.
Some of the camera angles were a bit much at the beginning the film, but seemed to settle down once the film found its stride. Also, a portion of the acting felt disingenuous and forced, while other portrayals flourished and blossomed as the film went on.
The one thing that made it extremely tough to connect emotionally with the film, was that there wasn’t the standard hero or really any individual character to root for. Had there been a strong, stout lead, the film would have had a much bigger impact.
The overall look of the film was very clean and beautiful, which helped tremendously in making the film feel realistic. It’s a pleasure to watch films nowadays that don’t implore the use of Hollywood style cameras. Using a lower quality camera gives the film a realness, kin to the found footage style, which makes the viewer feel as if they are actually in the film themselves.
A point of contention, however, is with some of the locations used throughout the film. There were a few sets that just didn’t help the film in any way shape or form. For instance, the house used for the birthday party gave the appearance of a can of sardines; everyone packed into the small living room with an extremely low ceiling. Not sure if that set was intended to give a claustrophobic vibe or not, but that’s not how it came across. The lack of budget is most likely the cause for these subpar locations.
When it comes to the plot, it’s virtually non-existent. You are left with a handful questions, yet no answers. You never find out exactly what the pathogen is or where it came from. Also, the first victim becomes infected due to apparent inhalation of the virus, while others become sick only after someone vomits on them. These problems were visibly evident, adding to the uneventful and sadly lack luster ending.
The running time of just over seventy minutes didn’t exactly help the cause either.
While there were some obvious meaty problems with this film, it was still a fun and entertaining watch. Something about the film just grabs you, making it had to tear your attention away.
It’s not the best horror film by any means, but it’s definitely not the worst either. There were a lot of talking points and some really robust special effects and make-up. The look of the zombie like creatures is leagues above most of the stuff currently pumped out by Hollywood executives in the modern era.
I give this film 1.5 out of 3 scratches for its display of quality special effects and make-up, and for its strapping potential.
Overall, this film has its fair share of problems. However, the finished product is evidence of the talent, dedication and potential this film and its makers possess. So, if you’re looking to expand your horror film knowledge or just searching for something new and different to watch, give this one a run. It has some really beautiful, rare horror elements worth appreciation.