Reviewed by: Dave Murray
Mary Christina Brown
What's it about
Ten convicts are given a second chance on the deserted beach of Romero Isiand, in a new reality tv show that will prove who is the 'real' survivor...literally! As the bodies start dropping (and getting back up, and chewing on other bodies and stuff), those that are running for their lives realize they should have clued in as to what was going to go down when they heard the name of the bloody island! Dumbasses!
Is it good movie?
Damn, this movie tries so hard I almost want to like it. The idea is great (although it is already cliched despite its newness), the setup is nicely done (as long as you put aside the homemade DV quality of the effects and camera work), and some of the acting is okay (while watching the rest is like having bamboo skewers shoved under your toenails). But for a lot of reasons the whole production just falls flat, and treads the same old tired ground that so-called 'survivor horror' flicks have visited before. Here we get some backstabbing and betrayal, the strong silent ex-military type who bonds with the pretty female type, and the introduction of some pretty lame zombie effects. I've seen some indie zombie movies lately that lathered on the gore in some fine ways for very little cash (Die and Let Live anyone?). Why couldn't this one bring the same level of violence to it's videogame feel and style?
And this brings me to one of my other really huge gripes about this ultimately forgettable movie. Everytime a convict or zombie connected or landed a blow in one of the many drawn out fight scenes, the action would pause and we would be given a point score for the hit! Mind you, these cuts were done very quickly and it was a neat idea the first couple of times, but all it served to do is take you out of the action, and I think the action may have been one of the only things the movie had going for it! I mean honestly, why do we need a running point system when everyone gets eaten anyway? Wouldn't it have been better to spend time on your lighting, camera placement, zombie makeup and at least some level of decent gore then on making some rad titles and transitions to give it that killer reality tv look? Stop it with the geeky scoring of the damn kill shots!
I'm sure a lot of effort went into the look and feel of the movie, the casting and the production as a whole. And while they get some marks for effort, the cast and crew never really come together. There is no story to hold the thing in one piece, and any sense of horror, tension or excitement that would have been created by the zombies or the action scenes is ruined by poor effects, and even poorer editing choices. Director Michael Su didn't know where he was going with this one, not really investing us in any one possible survivor and then killing them off, which ultimately leads to an ending with no payoff. I mean, sure, everybody dies and we get a sneak peek at 'next week's' episode. It's kind of like the bastard love-child of House of the Dead and The Running Man, which some elements ripped off from Saw II and quite possibly every halfway decent zombie movie (well, except for the gory bits, which sadly aren't here). Unfortunately, with characters this unlikeable and a script this thin, there's not much meat on these bones to chew on, and I was let down. When I saw the cover and read about the concept I was stoked. Too bad, this could have been a cooler than cool horror ride, with a lot more attention paid to style AND substance.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1.
Audio: English (Dolby 2.0 Surround).
All we get on this screener are a couple of trailers, including one for the Christian Viel directed Recon 2020: The Caprini Massacre, which is notable cause The Arrow himself has a small role!
Thinly scripted and with too many moments where the filmmakers tried for 'videogame cool', Doomed comes off as just another hokey entry in a long run of reality tv sendup's with a genre twist. I for one am getting tired of these movies, wishing that something new will come along and make them great again (and I haven't seen a good one since The Running Man)! Adding insult to the gaping headwound this movie left me with (I feel 30% dumber after this one, and that's a huge amount when you have jack shit left to begin with!), was the re-use of the survival horror and zombie subgenres, which could have heightened the festivities into a kickass time if handled with style and talent, but instead offered nothing original or innovative and annoyed the hell out of me with cheesy DV effects and cheap tv-style transitions and titles. Skip it, kids, because despite the sweet cover and great potential, it's pretty bad. For better island style horror and action, go watch the excellent asian flick Battle Royale instead.