Doomsday (2008)

DVD Cover (Rogue Pictures)
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> Worst Films of 2008
Overall Rating 56%
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Ranked #1,621
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A lethal virus spreads throughout Scotland, infecting millions and killing hundreds of thousands. To contain the threat, acting authorities brutally quarantine the country as it succumbs to fear and chaos. The quarantine is successful. Three decades later, the Reaper virus violently resurfaces in London. An elite group of specialists, including Eden Sinclair, is urgently dispatched into Scotland to retrieve a cure by any means necessary. Shut off from the rest of the world, the unit must battle through a landscape that has become a waking nightmare. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: March 17, 2008
After writing and directing one of the most insanely bad ass werewolf films ever made, "Dog Soldiers" and one of the best horror films of the last two decades, "The Descent", Neil Marshall has proven himself to be the most consistent horror director working today. Forget the tongue-in-cheek antics of hacks like Eli Roth - Neil Marshall is the real deal, a director not afraid to take the audience places it doesn't want to go. Marshall also realizes that you don't have to resort to torture porn and Troma-esque blood effects to get there - it can be just as effective psychologically. It would also seem that Marshall is following the John Carpenter road - for every "Halloween" he gave us, he also threw in an "Escape from New York". You see, John Carpenter was never just a horror director - he was a popcorn director. His goal was to entertain the hell out of an audience, whether it be through non-stop horror or non-stop action. Neil Marshall feels the same way. And, his latest picture - "Doomsday" - proves that point effortlessly. It's the kind of film you might have expected from someone like Carpenter, and it's certainly an odd choice to follow up a film like "The Descent". However, Marshall knows how to make it work. He's not going for anything that's going to change lives and he's not going for anything that's going to send the critics raving - he's just interested in pumping out ninety minutes of testosterone fueled estrogenical mayhem.

The film is set in the very near future, where the Reaper Virus has started turning ordinary Scottish citizens into ravenous mutants. Britain's solution? Create a wall around Scotland and leave the people to die. Fast forward about thirty years into the future and things are not too peachy in the land of Parliament, not the funk band. The rest of the world has abandoned Britain due to their treatment of Scotland and it appears the Reaper Virus has returned, threatening to wipe the country off the map unless they find a cure. Cue bad ass cop Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), whose boss (Bob Hoskins) recommends her for the job. She spits out one liners almost as quickly as her gun spits out bullets. She is sent into the old Scotland with a crack team of soldiers to find a possible cure for the Reaper Virus before it's too late. Once inside, they realize the people they thought were dead have managed to find a way to survive, but now they are rebel cannibals, hellbent on murder and all kinds of naughty destruction. The leader of the rebellion is Sol (Craig Conway), whose father, Kane (Malcolm McDowell), might have developed a cure. Most of the film deals with Eden and her team trying to track down Kane and the possible cure, whilst doing battle with the rebellion and all other sorts of bad guys, including - of all things - knights on horseback. "Doomsday" takes us from the futuristic streets of Britain to the dust covered walls of Scottish castles.

What makes most of the film work is that it approaches its subject matter with a lighthearted tone. Marshall understands that a lot of what he is doing is apparent cheese, and he really plays some of those scenes up, just like Carpenter did with "Escape from New York" and just like George Miller did with "Mad Max". I keep mentioning those films because "Doomsday" oftentimes seems like an homage to those films, though a little bloodier and a little more ravenous. Marshall found a way to take the idea of the 'road movie' and turn into a cannibalistic hell-ride into the abyss. The best scene in the film is when we are first introduced to the character of Sol, as he is torturing Eden in a less than appreciative manner. What follows is a musical sequence, a dance sequence, finally culminating in a barbecue of epic proportions. That one scene is the catalyst for "Doomsday" going down this bizarro road of violence and destruction. The final half hour of the film switches almost completely into 'stock action movie' mode, complete with one liners, car chases and an insane amount of camp and cheese. It appears to be just as Neil Marshall wanted it. The ending of the film also leaves room for a sequel, though I assume the poor box office performance has pretty much wiped out any such notion from existence.

But, as with any film of this nature, there are some downsides. I thought the first few minutes of the film were actually rather boring. I know they're setting up characters and getting into the thick of things, but I just wanted to get right into the action. I also found the set-up to be a little lackluster. More could have been done with the development of the plot. I also never really got the feel that I was watching something from the future. The cars looked the same. The buildings looked the same. Even the technology was not that far advanced. Sure - maybe they were doing something original by showing the future won't be so different after all, but I couldn't make any distinctions between time periods really. Another problems was that I thought Malcolm McDowell was, once again, less than impressive. He just seems to have zero heart for what he's doing these days and it's unfortunate to watch on screen. On the flip side, Bob Hoskins is always a delight, and Rhona Mitra plays the heroine with much gusto and energy. The highlight of the film, however, performance wise was the deliciously twisted Craig Conway as Sol, one of the best movie villains we've got to see in a few months now, probably since Javier Bardem. His performance breathes some life into "Doomsday" just when it needs it, and sustains it throughout the picture.

But, all negatives aside - I am happily recommending "Doomsday" to audiences. You're either going to love it or hate it, but if you enjoyed films like "Escape from New York" and "Mad Max" and "The Devil's Rejects" - or if you're just a Neil Marshall fan - it's probably going to be right up your alley. It was also nice to watch the film and seeing so many veteran Marshall actors pop up in various roles, both lead and supporting. His people go with him. "Doomsday" isn't going to blow anyone away and it's certainly not going to take Neil Marshall's career into the stratosphere, but it's an entertaining film and I suspect that's all he wanted to create. It's not "The Descent" and it's not "Dog Soldiers", but it does show he is capable of taking a larger budget and doing something with it, though next time I hope he wanders back into more authentic horror territory. My suggestion is to watch the evolution of these films. First, hit "Mad Max". Then move on to "Escape from New York". Throw "The Devil's Rejects" on third and then head to the cinemas and catch this one. It shows you how the 'road movie' has evolved, for the good and for the bad.

MrsCapricornia #1: MrsCapricornia - added 03/31/2008, 03:32 PM
Do you think there could be a sequel to Doomsday (Horror) Movie? I don't quite understand the ending. She drove back down to where the barbaric people were, and told them to eat their friend's head if they were hungry, the head being that of their leader. So what does that mean now then, did she join up with them, (feeling like she could some how relate to them, because her mother was left behind by the government and died too because of the virus,) and chose to became a cannabalistic barbaric like the rest of them. Or was she able to make peace with them, get through them, and be on her own. What? It does leave it open to interpretation. I hope she didn't become one of them, that's just sick! What do you really think? Greeneluckey@yahoo.com
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 03/31/2008, 04:20 PM
I think she went back and probably became their leader -- that is what I derived from the film. There is no way the film will have a sequel because of how it performed, but I think one could be devised...absolutely.
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added 03/31/2008, 04:22 PM
Oh, and SPOILER ALERT for those who read the bottom post.
Chad #4: Chad - added 08/05/2008, 01:53 AM
It was alright, nothing too special, and I think I'd go with a 5/10. The thing that really bugged me was the "music video" way that this was shot - do we really need six edits to show a single punch being thrown? Eighteen spliced shots of a swinging axe? I know this piece of shit technique isn't exclusive to this film, but that doesn't make it any less painful to sit through.

Major points for the Fine Young Cannibals dance scene though.
Tristan #5: Tristan - added 08/15/2008, 07:30 PM
Marshall really dropped the ball with this one. Pathetic, just pathetic. A few nice special effects, but aside from that this was a joke.
Bliss From A Dead Embrace #6: Bliss From A Dead Embrace - added 02/02/2009, 04:40 AM
It was a rip off of resident Evil and road warrior. And the budget must have sucked for this movie. Anyone notice that small part where the bently tears through a bus and doesn't get any damage? I geuss bently makes a pretty good tank. 4/10
Lucid Dreams #7: Lucid Dreams - added 06/01/2010, 03:14 PM
Movie was just average, nothing that bad about, but their was nothing good about it either. 5/10
Crispy #8: Crispy - added 12/28/2010, 08:33 PM
I'd go 6/10. I didn't like how it started out as a straightforward sci-fi esque action movie than suddenly shifted into camp mode with no warning.
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