Pathogen Is a Zombie Flick with a Difference—The Director Was Twelve
Having seen too many awful movies—the kind you couldn’t even recommend as a prank—I didn’t think I’d have much to lose watching Pathogen, an independent film written and directed by Emily Hagins. Emily wrote the screenplay when she was ten and began directing when she was twelve. Three choices for its outcome were given in the documentary chronicling Emily’s feat: a good movie, a good movie considering it was made by a twelve-year-old, or a bad movie.
The line between those choices is blurred, and Pathogen is a decent movie made by a twelve-year-old, but it ranks with the truly bad movies (which is not necessarily a bad thing). Hagins warned her audience that continuity was a problem, and viewers of Zombie Girl knew that sound recording was also a major problem.
Pathogen contains all the elements that make a bad movie good—and Emily Hagins says it’s okay to laugh. On the technical side, lighting, sound, inadequate number of extras, and limited locations contribute to an overall production that is, well, hilarious.
On the artistic side, the b-movie audience is accustomed to a lack of continuity, but there are lines in Pathogen that just don’t make sense. Employing that favorite plot device of b-movies, Pathogen is filled with characters doing things that nobody would do “in real life” (you know, like when there are zombies in your basement in real life). The actors, nearly all amateurs, are mostly tweens and teens, and they perform like inexperienced tween and teen actors—many of the adults are equally inexperienced and prove it. With a cast of schoolmates and neighbors, Hagins succeeded at getting an effectively chilling performance out of one girl (Estrella Gonzales as Jen), another—Alex Schroeder as Stacy—provides a believably creepy characterization, and Tiger Darrow (who appeared in a movie with Taylor Lautner) is a memorable Christine.Continued on the next page