I'm sure you won't believe this, but I'm saying it anyway: Neil Marshall's pseudo-post-apocalyptic plaguesploitation horror-action-gorefest Doomsday is a beautiful thing. I can think of no more succinct way to describe it than by saying that it is to dismemberment what Showgirls is to nipples. I don't remember the last time I felt a movie tickle my gut like this -- perhaps it was when I cackled my way through Umberto Lenzi's gloriously incompetent Nightmare City last summer? That'd make sense, at least, as Doomsday, whether it knows it or not, is an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink-and-the-entrails-we-left-in-it-after-our-cannibal-dinner homage to the notorious Brit video nasties that I'm now positive provided a part of the director's balanced breakfast. Essentially, it does for '80s VHS d-movie shlock what Planet Terror did for cinematic grindhouse shlock, and then goes one better by giving Death Proof a run for its money with a car chase. Out of a castles-and-all medieval milieu. Against a band of gothy devil's rejects. In a Bentley.
I'm getting ahead of myself, but it really doesn't matter because the preposterous plot, something like 28 Days Later for people not smart enough to read a calendar, is all over the place anyway. Some crazy plague breaks out in Great Britain, causing a section of the country to be closed off (we understand just how closed off it is when a metal gate separating from the infected from the healthy closes on a guy's fingers and dismembers them for our enjoyment). Years later, the plague infiltrates the safe area, and so Eden, a hot babe who's equal parts Kate Beckinsale, Lara Croft and Victoria Beckham (played Germanly by Rhona Mitra), heads an army into the quarantined zone to find out why people are still alive in there.
I knew this movie was onto something in the first five minutes when David O'Hara, as some kind of head of state, mumbled and mumbled and mumbled political strategy in a way that suggested he read the role as a more wooden version of The Simpsons' McBain, who's a more wooden version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Making the display even harder to believe is that a lot of it happens alongside Bob Hoskins, who's overacting hard enough to give the Golden Razzie Awards academy a daunting task when they go to select the clip to play alongside his Worst Actor nomination.
That's when I knew I liked it -- I knew I loved it when, in a display of how the wall between the sick and infected is automated by motion-detecting guns, we see a bunny hop into frame only to explode before our eyes courtesy of that automated sharp-shooter. They kill a bunny! For no reason except to be excessive! What is not to love? (I should add that as we're in the no-animals-were-hurt-in-the-making-of-this-film era, the shot is clearly fake and that's why it's hilarious, lest you think I'm totally sick, which you probably do anyway).
The brain-tickling game of Guess the Intent is in full gear throughout the ensuing parade of excess. There is communal cannibalism. There's a bond between two lovers on the bad-guy side that can't be severed, even though one of their heads is. There are computer graphics whose level of sophistication can be summed up in two words: Coleco Vision. There is a Fine Young Cannibals song ("Good Thing!") played during the gothy bad guys' pre-human roasting ritual (sort of a Cirque du Dirty Hair). There is blood on the lens. There is explicit Fulci referencing. There is another actress who bears resemblance to Victoria Beckham and thus the creation of a good Posh/bad Posh paradigm. Is what we see incompetent or comedic genius? Marshall says he injected the film with a "sick sense of humor," and yet, like with any camp worth obsessing over, it's still uncertain if the director knows just how funny he is.
Covering Doomsday's would be best handled via a screencap-heavy recap, which I'll do when it comes out on DVD. It'll be appropriate then, because that'll be the point in time when this thing will have a shot of becoming the beloved trash it's destined to be. Seriously, don't go see it, don't believe me now, but just know that I called it: some day in the future, Doomsday is going to have a legion of fans lovingly laughing at it, sharing in it like its Mad Max rejects share in human carcass. This movie is a gift.