The latest offering from horror director Neil Marshall will leave the viewer with an urge to re-watch the films which the burgeoning filmmaker ripped off in order to create the trashy and violent Doomsday.
The film is set in London, 2075, where for the last 30 odd years Scotland has been placed under strict quarantine, after a virus named “The Reaper” quickly spread through the country, forcing England to erect a large, steel enforced wall in order to keep the Scottish people and their virus at bay.
With the threat of an outbreak in London, and with satellite surveillance over Scotland showing signs of defiance to the virus, the government orders super cop Major Edin Sinclair – imagine Ripley meets Snake Pliskken, complete with bionic eyeball - to go through the wall and find the cure they desperately need.
Sinclair is played by British actress Rhona Mitra, who made her mark in popular U.S. TV programs Boston Legal and Nip/Tuck. Picture Kate Beckinsale crossed with Sandra Bullock and you will get the idea.
Leading a team of soldiers and scientists, all hell –of course – breaks loose, leaving Sinclair stuck in the middle of a warring family feud between self proclaimed king Kane (Malcolm Mcdowell), and his murderous cannibal punk son, Sol (Craig Conway).
Films that “pay tribute” to other (often better) films are a tricky concept. Quentin Tarantino has made a career out of stealing the best bits from a wide range of films, and has been deemed a genius while doing so. But this is mostly since Tarantino does bring a vibrant energy, infectious and witty dialogue, and an air of originality to his work.
Unfortunately, Marshall’s passionate ode to several 1980 post apocalyptic / sci-fi films – most notably Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Escape from New York, and Aliens – does not feel like a new entry in a worn out sub-genre, but rather a retread of old ideas, which were done much better the first time round.
This is a shame, since out of the new patch of horror directors – Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, etc – Marshall is the most consistent and entertaining. He is especially good at pacing his scenes to fever pitch and does get the opportunity to do so here.
But for every good moment of cinema – the films introduction exceptionally conveyed the hysteria and violence felt in the virus’s opening stages – a stupid move in the wrong direction brings the films momentum down, with special mention to Marshall’s medieval elements, which brought on disbelief, followed by awkward laughter.
Also, be warned that Doomsday can be an excessively violent and gruesome film, unless watching a group of savages set alight and devour a screaming man makes for entertaining viewing.
Essentially, this is a big budget re-hash of B-picture classics. An alright flick for gore hounds planning a night in, but it is worth checking out the originators instead.