Monday, November 17, 2008

Review: Dead Space - Downfall

Dead Space: Downfall (2008)
Genre: Horror
Format: Blu-ray
Director: Chuck Patton

Prequels are a tricky thing to pull off, especially when they are based on a premise that is already proven to be very successful to stand on their own merits. This animated movie is a companion piece to the video game Dead Space that was released a week prior to its premier on DVD/Blu-ray. It is definitely targeted towards those who have played the game looking to extend the thrills they have experienced from it.

Dying on board the Ishimura is not a pretty sight.

Dead Space: Downfall chronicles the events that lead to what happened in the video game. A space mining colony found a creepy looking ancient artifact on a faraway planet that appeared to hold some sort of dark secret but is tied to some religious understanding of that particular time. The planet-cracker starship Ishimura is deployed to the location to extract a portion of the planet and bring the artifact back to earth. After an alarmingly increasing cases of dementia impacting the miners on the planet, the dead start to morph into alien forms that savagely attack anyone around them. These life forms eventually board the Ishimura to continue their violent rampage.

The only thing that's true to the video game is the video com.

While the game is extremely scary, this movie is hardly horrific. Its biggest downfall, pardon the pun, is the jarring difference in visual quality when compared to the game. I think it would have been more successful if it is done using the game's CG - remember the Xenosaga bonus movie DVD from Episode I? The anime look is just unconvincing and lazy and it tones down a lot of the unforgivably bleak and intense atmosphere that it was trying to replicate from the game. Then, you have the problems with the storyline. The movie mainly follows Vincent, a female security officer of the Ishimura who seems to lack both the intelligence and the toughness for the position that she holds, leading to many awkward moments in dialogues and actions. Also, the Ishimura is a big ship and the security measures and personnel portrayed in the movie are laughable. Downfall is a disappointing film that could have been better. It is also an insult to those who have played the video game because it undermines what has been established and it betrays the wonderful memories one might associate with the Dead Space title. Those who love anime violence may get their quick fixes here -there is at least one very disturbing death scene -but even as a stand alone product, it's just another one of those really terrible made for TV horror movies.

RATING: 1 out of 5

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