now playing



DOOMSDAY  (2008)

A fun tribute to 80s action classics like Escape from New York and The Road Warrior, that’s like a time capsule trip back to the that era of movies. Those who call it unoriginal and a rip-off, don’t understand that a rip-off wouldn’t be so blatantly obvious and downright giddy about wearing it’s influences so proudly out in the open. It’s supposed to be reminiscent of those two 80’s classics and with nods to other flicks like The Warriors and even Excalibur. Doomsday is a homage, and director Neil Marshall never intended it otherwise. I am a big fan of  Marshall and I get exactly what he was doing here. The similarities are all deliberate and taken as such, this film is a nostalgic blast.

Doomsday tells of a near future where a horrible and deadly virus has broken out in Scotland and the British government walls the country off and leaves the survivors to die. Britain is reviled and exiled by the rest of the world and now is becoming one giant slum. When the aptly named ‘reaper virus’ returns to London, the bureaucrats send loose cannon, Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) into Scotland with a team of scientists and soldiers to find rumored survivors and thus a possible cure. What they find are a number of living and dangerous threats including a vicious gang of punk rock cannibals and a society of people reverted back to medieval times, castle and all. Even if they find a cure they may not survive the inhabitants of Scotland’s wasteland to bring it back.

Marshall fills Doomsday with a lot of action and some of it very bloody and gruesome at that. The film rarely stops moving and delightfully spills plenty of gore between the fight scenes, zombie-like plague victims and hungry punk cannibals. The FX are all very well done, as are the stunts, and the cast, including Bob Hoskins and Malcolm McDowell, are all playing it straight, yet having a good time. Let’s not forget to mention that Rhona Mitra makes an ass-kicking and smoking hot, female Snake Plissken/Mad Max mash-up. And if you haven’t gotten the point, Tyler Bates delivers a nice score that pays homage to those before mentioned 80s classics, as well. If you are a fan of 80s action flicks, especially Escape from New York and The Road Warrior, then pull up a chair, open a beer and relive the spirit of those genre classics that is so perfectly recaptured here. A fun retro blast of a movie from Neil Marshall.

A fun bit of trivia: Actor Craig Conway who plays the gang leader “Sol” also played one of the creatures in Marshall’s The Descent and a camper in the opening sequence of Marshall’s Dog Soldiers.

MonsterZero NJ Rant: I know how things work. If a movie doesn’t do well…and Doomsday didn’t…there is little or no chance of a sequel. But I really loved the character of Major Eden Sinclair and thought Rhona Mitra really pulled off the female Plissken/Mad Max hybrid while yet making the character her own. I would love to see Eden Sinclair return in another film adventure, but especially now years later, there is little or no chance of that. Bummer! A great character that would really rock in another adventure set in Marshall’s grim future, but alas, it most likely will never happen! Too bad! End rant!

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) Eden’s

doomsday rating










And to celebrate the birthday of one of my favorite new generation filmmakers, I review my favorite of his films! (Though, I like them all!)





Our chilling story begins with the tragic death of the husband and daughter of Sarah, (Shauna Macdonald) one of six adventure seeking friends. A year later, group leader, Juno (Natalie Mendoza), decides to take Sarah and the rest on an underground cave exploring expedition. But the overzealous Juno has tricked them into exploring a supposedly undiscovered system and soon they become trapped inside with no one but the cave’s carnivorous inhabitants knowing where they are.

Writer/director Neil Marshall creates a truly scary and suspenseful roller coaster ride as these six women get lost in this undiscovered system and worse yet, find out they are not alone. The Descent is a claustrophobic and tense experience even before the creatures show up. With the tension between group members and of the cave-in that traps them inside, the film would have been entertaining and satisfying enough had that been the extent of it’s story. But it is a horror film and cave dwelling carnivores soon show up and when they do, the real nightmare begins for our spelunking sweeties. One of the reasons Descent is so successful is that the women are all likable three dimensional characters and there is some really nice and realistic interaction and banter between them. They are a diverse and likable group and even Juno has her positive qualities though, her actions do make her very morally questionable. Marshall gets really good performances out of his sextet of heroines and It has impact when they come to harm. And Marshall doesn’t spare them, or us, when they do, it’s brutal and bloody. But these ladies also give as good as they get when it comes to fighting back and the last third is quite a bloodbath. Marshall also ups the ante by adding a personal conflict that develops between the two leads Sarah and Juno, that adds an extra dynamic and gives an extra dramatic punch to an already pulse pounding finale.

The production looks good and Marshall makes maximum use of his setting. The cave itself becomes a character as Marshall filmed the movie using only the light the girls themselves are using, to light the scenes. It gives a better illusion that the viewer is there with our heroines as they move through the underground labyrinth and creates a really claustrophobic atmosphere that adds to the suspense and dread. As for the cave’s inhabitants, they are kept in shadows and seen briefly, which keeps them mysterious and scary and Marshall even imbues them with a bit of character so they become more real to his audience and more than just monsters. The make-up and gore effects bringing these creatures and their carnage to gruesome life are also top notch.

Very intense, very scary, very gory and one of the best horror flicks of the last decade. Watch it in the dark, but not alone! Also staring Alex Reid as Beth, MyAnna Buring as Sam, Saskia Mulder as Rebecca and Nora-Jane Noone as Holly. Buring and Noone were also featured in Marshall’s fun Escape From New York/Road Warrior mash-up Doomsday (2008).

Birthday boy Neil Marshall also directed Dog Soldiers, Doomsday, Centurion, episodes of Game Of Thrones and is slated to helm the upcoming Hellboy reboot.

An intense and gory 4 cave critters!

descent rating