MONKEY REVIEW: Doomsday

March 16, 2008

After making one classic horror film, The Descent, and one near classic, Dog Soldiers, writer/director Neil Marshall makes a movie that’s just a plain horror: Doomsday. Oh, how it pains me to write that, as Doomsday was the first movie this year I genuinely couldn’t wait to see, even after I’d seen a post at IMDB that described it as “Posh Spice Beyond Thunderdome.” Unfortunately, that’s pretty accurate. I really wanted to like this movie, and really, for the first twenty minutes or so, it’s not bad: Scotland suffers “the Reaper Virus” and everyone who isn’t previously evacuated is walled in and left for dead. In 2035, nearly three decades later, the virus breaks out again, this time in London, and a small team of soldiers and doctors, led by Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra, channeling the role that first brought her to the public eye, Lara Croft), go back into Scotland looking for survivors, who may be the key to a cure. So far, so good, but then we meet some of the survivors, who look like leftover extras from Mad Max and The Road Warrior, and the movie promptly goes to pot about the time they do a full on dance number to a song by Fine Young Cannibals, after which some ugly young cannibals do their thing. My friend Robert suggested a Doomsday drinking game, where you’d take a drink everytime the movie switched gears and reminded you of yet another, often much better, movie. That’d be a lot of drinking, because those movies would include: Escape From New York, Alien, Aliens, the Demons movies, Lifeforce, 28 Days Later, the aforementioned Mad Max movies, even Apocalypse Now and, unbelievably, a bit of Robin Hood, Excalibur and Monty Python And The Holy Grail. And there are nods to other 80’s Italian horror movies, as well as American grindhouse and blaxploitation films. I wish all that homage craziness added up to good times, like it did with Planet Terror, but it really doesn’t, and Doomsday is a different animal altogether, anyway. Sadly, Doomsday is a loud, gory and nonsensical letdown. Now I’m going to find a corner, hug a copy of Fangoria and cry.

MONKEY RATING: FOUR MONKEYS

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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