Neil Marshall’s got previous, having made the rubber-wolf rubbish that was Dog Soldiers and the ultra-dull Descent. The former featured some army-types getting trapped in the middle of nowhere and fighting werewolves, whilst the latter was about an unengaging bunch of pot-holing chicks getting eaten by horrible anaemic white ghouls. Even from those brief descriptions, both films sound mildly watchable, if not like a ruddy good laugh. But they aren’t a ruddy good laugh. Neither of them. Both run out of steam within 30 minutes then rely on brain-haemorrhage speed-editing to try and involve you, to no avail.
Marshall’s got something very wrong with his mechanism. Every time things are looking good, he seems to take a completely mental premise with massive potential for larks and then slowly blood-let every element of surprise, fun and enjoyment from it. It’s like he finds some ancient, forgotten VHS of a good fun splatter film and, instead of remaking it with mad-good effects, he just takes it out of the cover and gently shits on it.
And so we come to Doomsday. Though, if you’ve any sense, you won’t come to Doomsday – you’ll let it gather dust on the racks. After a hefty amount of exposition-time in which Bob Hoskins manages to swear a lot, unconvincingly, our protagonist (played by Rhona Mitra) convinces us she’s a cold-hearted, killing-machine bitch. Then she gets sent to Scotland which is now a quarantined hinterland with the mission of finding a cure for the virus which has turned the Scots into disease-ridden cannibal bastards. With mohicans. Who have just finished being duff extras in Mad Max.
It’s a nice, absurd premise, but what follows is just set-piece after set-piece of jarring action sequences. And then a mediaeval bit. And then a massive road chase that never seems to end.
It would be an unremarkable bit of fluff, but the dialogue is so unbelievably poor that the viewer has no choice but to start actively disliking what’s going on. I think the Rhona Mitra character is meant to come across as a stern, Aeon Flux type character. She actually seems more like a frigid, miffed newsreader and you want her to die as violently as Sean Pertwee did in the first bit. Only quicker.