a critiQal film review Doomsday (2008)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: After containing the deadly Reaper virus in Scotland for 3 decades, a sudden outbreak in a major city outside the country prompts an urgent dispatch of an elite group of specialists, captained by Eden Sinclair (Mitra), into the still-quarantined 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.

438 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 11s)

From the previews, it looked like Doomsday was a mix between and The Road Warrior. Since that seemed like a good combination, I wanted to check this out back in March. However, when that didn’t work out, I definitely wanted to pick it up once it hit DVD.

Of course, by the time the film hit DVD, I also had another reason to check it out: the star, Rhona Mitra, has signed on as the main character in next year’s , so of course I wanted to see if Rhona would be any good in an action role. With that in mind, I rented Doomsday. Would this be a good preview of things to come for Rhona Mitra, or would I be hoping that could survive her by the end of this film?

Actually, this isn’t Rhona’s first introduction to action – she’s already battled vampires in Skinwalkers. Still, as a more straight-on approach to violence and destruction, Doomsday lets her do a lot more, since she’s given leading lady status in the film.

True, she has a bit of help in the form of Malcolm McDowell (who appears too briefly in the film), but mainly the make-or-break of Doomsday – acting-wise at any rate – lies mostly with her, and her ability (or lack thereof) to engage the viewer in her character.

Thankfully, Rhona’s up for the task – it’s too bad the rest of the film doesn’t follow her lead.

Tossing survivors back into a walled-off city seems to be a recurring theme for virus horrors, doesn’t it? Whether it’s , or Doomsday, it seems to be a recurring plot – and the government is usually the one to blame. So why do they keep doing it? Most likely, it’s because it works.

As long as people continue to mistrust the government, it’s easy for horror films of this nature to use the government as the major scapegoat – no matter how idiotic the actions might seem – making it easy for the filmmakers to thrust their characters – and thus their audience – into a confined space with very little hope of survival.

Unfortunately, it does little to help Doomsday. While was able to use the confined space to notch the tension up a couple of notches, Doomsday instead reverts to almost a Road Warrior ripoff – giving the impression that the film isn’t sure if it wants to be a car crashing action road trip or a horror movie. Needless to say that while it’s still somewhat entertaining to watch, it’s hard to keep the tension level going strong.

Despite a decent effort from Rhona Mitra, <Doomsday isn’t as entertaining to watch as the previews made it seem to be. Unable to decide if it’s a Road Warrior or , Doomsday unfortunately comes across as far inferior to either.

A sad disappointment, so if you miss this one on DVD, don’t take it too hard – it’s just not worth it.

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