Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Taking a slight break from the Tomb of Terrors set, here’s a recent film that I actually didn’t find it a chore to watch. Doomsday, the last effort by delightful horror director Neil Marshall (whose previous films include Dog Soldiers, which is one of the best werewolf movies I have ever seen, and The Descent, which is simply one of the creepiest and best-made horror movies of the past decade), plays out like an upgraded version of Escape From New York, all the way down to the lead with a missing eye. It’s fast-paced, action-packed, unashamedly derivative, and extremely fun to watch.

Set in the near future, as such a film must, we are treated to an England that was walled off Scotland after the outbreak of an incurable plague several years prior. Tragically, a new outbreak has begun in London, and so the government (headed by Prime Minister Julian Bashir, who I’m always way too excited to see in anything) decides to send a strike force into Scotland in search of a possible cure before all of London gets put at risk. Of course, things go horribly awry, as multiple factions of survivors of the plague attack the strike force, mostly wiping it out, and our one-eyed heroine is largely left alone to find a cure and make her way back home.

It’s the first film I’ve seen from Marshall that wasn’t a horror movie, and it shows that he is equally qualified to do any other kind of sleazy genre film. There’s all the blood and over-the-top violence you’d expect from his previous works (at least in the unrated version, I haven’t seen the theatrical one), and there’s a good amount of cleverness and fun to the whole thing. Without giving much away (see, when I actually like the movie, I do try to avoid spoilers), the big performance of the head of the first gang is so wonderful that I had to rewind it when it was done so I could watch it again.

Now, this is not the best movie Marshall has ever made; that honor still belongs to The Descent. This is, however, a superior action film, one that’s not afraid to get a good deal grimmer and more vicious than most modern-day action movies are brave enough to tread. If you have a vested interest in joy, or the comfort of cuddling young kittens, then you should absolutely check this film out. If, however, you feel a certain amount of masochism, and can only feel happiness when experiencing pain, then perhaps you may be more interested in the Tomb of Terrors collection, which I should hopefully be halfway done with by Friday.

Rating: *** ½

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