Sunday, 15 February 2009
Director: Michael SuReleased: 2007Staring: Mary Christina Brown, Steve Cryen, Sarah Diaz, Aaron Gaffey, Andre McCoy, Ward Roberts, Drew Russell, Kara Schaaf, Edwin Villa, Heidi Marie Wanser
Rating: 4 / 5
Plot: In the near future and with society's thirst for reality TV forever increasing and being pushed to its limits a new show has been created "Doomed". Gathering together ten criminals looking to end their sentences by taking part in the show were all they have to do is make it from one side of the island to the other, gathering supplies and weapons that are have been placed at various points of the island, little realising that the island is also the home of a failed military experiment and with the contestants now being pursed by these rabid soldiers, they soon find out that they haven't been sent there to compete but to die for the entertainment of the viewers.
Review: It's always kinda worrying when the cover bares a heading like "In the tradition of "30 Days Later" and "Dawn of the Dead" "on the cover let alone the fact, that the film your about to watch, cost you a grand total of one British pound! Still surely this is the type of film that I shud be seeing as a prime target for reviewing as part of this resolution and funnily enough this film ticks both of the boxes mentioned above, but thankfully it manages to rise above these things, which might put off your regular movie goer, who no doubt over looked this title instead choosing something slightly less risqué and no doubt more mainstream, which is a real shame as "Doomed" is in fact the type of movie which justifies the whole point of this years resolution by proving that not all bad movies are necessarily bad.Ok first off it's no doubt best to ignore that whole tradition tagline, as although "Doomed" does infact have zombies in it, it really is more in tune with the show "Survivor" & cult movie "Series 7 - The Contenders" another frequently overlooked title, especially with the film being show completely in a game show format, which is a change from what could have just been another cookie cutter bargain horror. So right from the opening credits the budget restraints are clear with the non to polished opening credits which reminded me of so many bad Aussie teen dramas like "Ocean Odyssey" that used to plague my childhood and that you only watched because there was no good cartoons on some other channel and it's something that continues throughout the film, none so more than with the few CGI elements, that the film does feature, mainly with the host who provides show commentary for the viewer, a gimmick that surprisingly enough doesn't verge on annoying, as it so could easily have especially when you consider how cornball the character of the show host is played, as he appears at various moments in the film to update the audience on the contestants progress and shooting off cheesy one liners and never once seeming to care what has happened to the contestants, as long as its making for good entertainment. The cast as to be expected are a bunch of unknowns, with the majority bit part actors; they all seem to relish the opportunity for the extended screen time, especially Michael Kehoe as the holographic host, who's more known for working on sets, as crew than for being in front of the camera. Still this choice of using unknowns also gives the film an element of surprise, which most big budget horror productions lose out on, by having big named stars, as by using no name stars, it potentially means that any character can become zombie chowder at any time, which is another great things about "Doomed" as at various points at the movie I found myself being caught off guard, when a character I thought was going to make it to the closing credits, was suddenly killed off and while the audience is not necessarily supposed to care for these characters, seeing how they are all convicted criminals, you still care about their bid to beat the game, overlooking the fact that most of them might just be the nicest criminals you ever saw.Despite being a zombie movie, "Doomed" doesn't rely heavily on gore like so many of it's Zombie forefathers of the late 70's, which again may be down to budgetary issues, but surprisingly enough doesn't take anything away from the film, in the same way that it did for the "Resident Evil" movies and true this does mean that a lot of the characters meet a similar fate as each other somthing that will no doubt, get most horror fans backs up, but personally it didn't feel as if I was being cheated, even with the screen cutting to static when another contestant, suffers a grizzly end, it still had the same sense of satisfaction that I could have got from seeing a more gory death scene.Sadly though "Doomed" is not without some niggling issues, the majority of them coming from using the Reality TV format, in which it's chosen to be shot, which for the most part helps keep the story fast paced as we move from one group to the other, but has an annoying habit of pausing the screen every time someone throws a punch or kills a zombie, flashing up with a certain amount of points, which seems kind of pointless when you consider the objective of the game is to just make it to the other side of the island, making a points system obsolete and really just an excuse to add a filler recap scene at the end of the first day. I could pick holes in the various plot points such as how an island which was supposedly nuked, is still full of dense, lush vegetation and no real signs of radioactivity, unless however it's using the same science that made Godzilla and a whole host of 50's B-Movies work, where radioactivity only helps things grown...hmmm I wonder.
"Doomed" might not be a smart satire on reality TV and liberally borrow ideas at times, but for a film which is destined to go straight to DVD it instead provides the audience with a fun escape, especially for the more open minded viewer, willing to look past the lack of gore, which is more and more being used to replace genuine shocks in horror, something that "Doomed" is also lacking but at the very least tires to bring a sense of mindless fun back to the genre