FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Mar 16, 2010

Dead Space: Downfall

Dead Space: Downfall (2008) is a sci-fi/horror animated feature that bridges the gap between the 6-issue comic miniseries Dead Space and the video game of the same name. Just for fun, let's do some math.

(cartoon + comic + video game) x (sci-fi + horror) = (Final Girl + Dead Space) / love

On the planet Aegis VII, colonists have unearthed a massive artifact of alien origin. After the discovery, violent incidents erupt throughout the colony; a religious group (the Unitologists) claim that the artifact is cursed. The mining ship Ishimura arrives and the artifact is brought on board. In a startling twist, this turns out to be a mistake.

Before long, Ishimura crew members are suicidin' and homicidin' like nobody's business. To make matters worse, dead bodies are reanimated and transformed into necromorphs, grotesque creatures who like to use their pointy appendages for stabbing people TO THE DEATH. Security chief Alissa Vincent and her rag-tag group of marine-types try to regain control of the ship, battling necromorphs, crazy crew members, and a religious zealot of a captain who thinks everything is hunky-dory.

If you've played Dead Space, which begins with the Kellion answering the distress call from the seemingly abandoned Ishimura, you know that Downfall is going to end badly for Vincent and the rest of the crew. Such is the peril of the prequel. The fun, of course, is watching the destruction...and man, is there destruction. BREAKING NEWS: cartoons are not just for kids! Dead Space: Downfall is insanely violent and gory- more so than most live-action horror movies, even. People are impaled, cut in half...body parts fly and blood paints the walls of the ship.

To be honest, I'm not sure what viewers who are unfamiliar with Dead Space will get out of Downfall beyond some visceral, energetic violence and gore. There's nothing wrong with 75 minutes of bloody, spacey, monstery horror, of course...but the narrative is a bit convoluted. Themes explored in the game, such as religious zealotry, are only touched on in the film. The characters are simply mutant fodder- Alissa, for example, is little more than a gun and a bunch of swear words. Still, if you're a sci-fi/horror nut like me, you'll have a good time. The animation itself is a bit stiff- it feels like a superhero cartoon from the early-90s. It didn't really bother me, but then again I like early-90s superhero cartoons.

To sum up, I really dug it...but I knew I would. I mean, you can't argue with math. Okay, you can, but you'll just look stupid.


Verdant Earl said...

Math Suks!

Anonymous said...

"In a startling twist, this turns out to be a mistake."

Totally did not see it coming. I mean, religious artifacts are usually peaceful and harmless in horror stories.

But having never played the game, it definitely didn't make a lot of sense...but it was fun.