Like so many epidemics before, the loss of so many lives began with a single microscopic organism. It’s human nature to seek even the smallest comfort in reason, or logic for events as catastrophic as these. But a virus doesn’t choose a time or place. It doesn’t hate or even care. It just happens. -Kane
Are costume designers rummaging around in the leftovers from Mad Max movies or are they so enamored by them that they continue to revamp the style and feel into their films in this new era? Doomsday may have looked like Mad Max but it was far more grotesque, vivid in it’s violence, startling in it’s fearsome theme. There were no allusions made to the brutality of the new world survivors. it was clear and present, in your face, no holds barred. Though this film does display influences from other movies, it is very much so it’s own creative force.
We’ve seen movies explore the zombie or “virus” situation, and the whole concept of what happens after, but Doomsday takes a different approach. A portion of the United Kingdom was quarantined and left alone for decades after final evacuation efforts. Twenty years later when the flu has showed itself again, but this time in downtown London. As fast as it spreads and as contagious as it is the Prime Minister reveals knowledge that aerial shots of the quarantined zone revealed that there are humans alive in at the very least Glasgow. A group of elite soldiers are the very first people to be sent into the zone in over twenty years in search of the cure. What they discover is far from anything anyone had anticipated, and the new world left from humanities worst display of fear has manifested itself in a most fearsome way.
I had no clue how smooth this movie would actually be. At first I started to feel Resident Evil: Apocalypse, but the tone changed quickly and became it’s own film. The angry super heroine played by Rhona Mitra shows someone other than Kate Beckinsale or Milla Jovovich can rock the big screen fighting big bads . She comes off as rough around the edges and her indifference to her surroundings gives the same reluctant hero feel that some of the greats have. In the most perilous of situations she is calm, and even facing her own possible demise lackadaisical, and rightfully so. It seems impossible for anyone to one up her, unless she gives in on her own accord.
The entirety of the plot is just as unpredictable as the brutal world it’s set in. There is no guarantees about who will make it to the end and who will die in the first five minutes. The world is chaotic and so is the films pacing. You are just as lost andtrepidatious as the characters, unknowing what will happen next. The aggressive nature of all the surviving humans, and somehow being stuck in a war that Major Eden (Mitra) knows nothing about, and frankly cares nothing about. She has a job to finish and that’s all she cares about. The perspective and knowledge the audience is given is the same that she is given. Getting to live vicariously through her and each of the choices she makes at each new contemplative event that turns the situation around makes for a pretty intense and suspenseful run.
The special FX are integrated flawlessly. The ruined city of Glasgow at night is terrifying in it’s abandonment. The silence mixed with absolute darkness and the overgrown vines and moss give it a freaky feel that seems like something out of a video game. The ominous feel of humanity gone wrong and emptiness the city emotes is more horrifying than any zombie, virus, or cannibal gang. The fear of nothingness seems far more frightening than the fear of something.
Doomsday was brutal from start to finish. It was suspenseful and had a compelling mix of new idea’s while still giving poignant reflections of the films that paved the way before it. The hardened characters and sadistic violence will not appeal to everyone, but for fans of this genre, it is an awesome depiction of a post-apocalyptic setting gone as bad as it can go. Films that do show humanity and it’s best and it’s worse is far more interesting than a predictable hero that you can count on to do what’s morally right. In real life people are complex and don’t always do what’s right. Doomsday was a wild and pleasant ride.