Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day One Hundred and Twenty-one - Dead Space: Downfall, "Heavy Metal levels of gore... but that's it."

The prequel event of the first Dead Space game, Downfall follows the very quick destruction of both the colony world Aegis VII and the mining ship Ishimura thanks to the Red Marker, an artifact of mysterious origins that apparently drives people mad and is connected to the graphic mutations of reanimated corpses thanks to an alien virus.

Really, Downfall is just a Total Party Kill (TPK) movie that leads survivors down the path of destruction as, one by one, they are all lost to the encroaching necromorph armies or their own madness.

If I were to compare Downfall to another film, it would probably be Event Horizon, just another horror movie in space where the enemy is both the Self and the Other, but it never really gets deeper than that. There are a few nods to the game, such as a brief cameo of Isaac's girlfriend and Dr.Kyne, but it's just a poorly plotted and animated piece that is 75 minutes of exposition for the game.

The gore is unnecessary and gratuitous, like Hanson's murdering of Shen which takes up a good ten seconds of screentime as we watch him fillet her like a fish with a plasma cutter. It's over the top and pointless. There are several moments where they do dial it back a bit and go for artistry over simple explicit exploration, like when one of the colonists ends her own life, but they are overshadowed by the need to constantly amp the violence and blood.

Scenes like this go on for the majority of the film and they have no real emotional impact because we never get invested in the characters. They're never around long enough to sink our teeth into. What brief interactions we have between them are either betrayed when the crisis comes or awkwardly lampshaded in poorly conceived dialogue (like the case of the Comms officer and his dislike of main character Alissa Vincent).

Now, I've gone on a bit about the violence, but let me be clear... I'm not against folks doing it, I'm just saying that, in this case, it's to no effect. It's all boring and lacking in emotional impact, mostly do to the lack of character development and style.

The art is boring and lifeless. I wasn't impressed by either the character design or the constant reuse of necromorph models. I mean, in the final moments, we see a very distinctive necro with its lower jaw removed being jettisoned into space, then just a few more seconds later we see the same model on the bridge in a different part of the ship.

Lazy. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

I guess I'm okay with what they were trying to do with Downfall, provide some context on the events that occurred previous to the video game, but who cares if you are just going to waste it all on a cheap splatterfest of the week.

If anything, this should have been a six part mini-series to slowly ramp the terror and give plenty of time for character depth. I mean, it's hard to get bent out of shape when "generic security officer #3" gets his face torn off. Heck, I barely cared when Shen was murdered... and that was supposed to be one of the more impactful moments of the film.


Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

No comments:

Post a Comment