The Spooktacular Eight #1: Doom Annihilation (2019)

Ah, yes, the newer Doom movie adaptation, one that basically came out direct to video 2 years ago, to the sound of not much fanfare and people claiming it killed their mum in cold blood it was so bad, so terrible.

Clearly these people don’t know any better, because i was surprised to finally come around, unwrap my Blu Ray copy i got on the cheap last year, and seeing it was actually not that bad, at all, far from the disaster people claim it is.

This isn’t a set up for a beatdown, honestly it’s not as bad as i feared and more competenly put together than a lot of these smaller productions would led you to believe, even more since it’s a videogame to live-action movie adaptation, directed and written by Tony Giglio, a project that was initally rejected but then greenlit and “happened” pretty much due to 2016’s Doom reboot success.

It’s worth noting it’s not perfect by any means, it’s not original by any meaning of the word, just keep in mind that Doom was originally gonna be an Aliens licensed videogame, and so it’s no fuckin wonder that any attempt to translate the game into cinema basically gives you another film “heavily inspired” by the beloved Ridley Scott’s movie, with some shades of other horror sci fi movies like Event Horizon and plot elements also coming from the videogame series itself.

For whatever reason, this adaptation as well basically borrow the basic plot from Doom 3, as it’s about a group of Marines sent to the UAC facility on the second moon of Mars, Phobos, where a couple of ancient teleportation devices (known as “Gates”) are being studied, and from which demonic creatures spring forth, attacking the Marines alongside zombified former staff of the base.

What this one has over the 2005’s big budget adaptation is that this actually feels like an adaptation of Doom and actually tries to insert ideas and elements from the games in a more coherent way, instead of just going through a checklist of references and having the BFG somewhere in it, but then doing some stuff about ancient aliens skeletons and whatever random crap they want.

You still find characters named after Carmack and Wolfenstein’s main protagonist, but you can tells the people behind it actually played the games and wanted to insert as many things from the game earnestly, meant well in doing so instead of just cynically going through bullet points on a sheet.

Sadly the story it’s as familiar as pretty dang predictable from the get go (no surprises in regard to its execution, eihter, characters are pretty cliched and stock, in a couple of action scenes some of the soldiers felt easily interchangeable, and speaking of which, there’s a bit too much emphasis on the marines fighting zombies in okay but repetitive and unremarkable actions scenes.

On the upside, later in the movie the demons finally come to the forefront of the action, and i commend them trying to use as much practical effects for the monsters and gore as they can, basically until the final confrontation which is heavy on CG, and makes you wish this had a bigger budget, but still, for a direct-to-video affair the production values are decent to good, and there is decent acting to help sell the very bog standard – but well meaning – characterization.

A less positive note is that the movie goes for a fairly serious tone, and it doesn’t really pay off that well, since at times the direction feels like it’s going for a Paul W. S. Anderson vibe (especially in the climax), so having the tone leaning a lot on the serious side it’s a bit odd, but it’s not that badly executed.

Overall, Doom Annihilation it’s a ok b-movie, modest but earnest, it’s not impressive in any way but it’s definitely not bad, at the very least it’s watchable, no doubt about it. Definitely a lot better than stuff like id publicly announcing they weren’t involved (after a lot of negative reception, obviously) would led you to believe, and for it being a videogame-to-movie adaptation.

It’s worth noting it ends in a cliffhanger, which it’s a bit cheeky, but you know what, i say make it if you can, why the fuck not?!

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