Doomsday – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

There are some films you see in movie theatres and you can feel that they’re destined to become a cult classic. They arrive with minimal or no hype, stay in theatres a short while, then get released onto DVD with little fanfare, and then years later it emerges as a cult favorite. Doomsday is that sort of film.

Part Mad Max and part Escape from New York, with a little 28 Days Later thrown in for good measure, Doomsday has a pretty straightforward plot. A nasty virus, which had thought to be isolated in Scotland, has popped up in England. When a potential cure is spotted in Scotland, it’s up to the toughest cop in England and general knockout Eden (Rhona Mitra) to go back in and find a cure. What she finds is right out of “Heart of Darkness” in its savagery, finding redemption after a career that has hardened her heart.

Doomsday is the sort of film made for a cult following. With some spectacular action sequences, as well as Mitra in tight spandex for the entire movie, this is the sort of film John Carpenter would’ve made with $5 million in 1985. Full of sound and fury, the film is a guilty pleasure of an action film as it combines the sort of apocalyptic action film made famous by Carpenter with the action sensibility of a B-movie, all with a top notch effects budget.

Doomsday will be the next big cult action film; it’ll just take some time. It’s a welcome treat for those who sought it out in theatres.

Presented in a Dolby Digital surround with a widescreen format, Doomsday has a terrific transfer. This is a big, loud action movie and the a/v reflects it. For a dark, grim film it comes through wonderfully.

The film’s Unrated Version is included on the DVD release, which is pretty much the same exact film with some subtle nuances that aren’t there unless you look hard for them.

Anatomy of Catastrophe: Civilization on the Brink is a look at the film’s production. It’s interesting to see everyone discuss the film, as everyone wanted to make this film akin to a Mad Max type film; discussion about how they wanted to make this like a John Carpenter film (referencing Escape from New York specifically) explains a lot about the film itself.

The visual effects and wizardry of Doomsday focuses on how the film got its low-budget feel. It’s because the film had a small budget ($30 million) and had to do a lot of work with miniatures and old-school pyrotechnics as opposed to CGI.

Devices of Death: Guns, Gadgets and Vehicles of Destruction focuses on the designs of all the futuristic weapons and machinery featured in the film. It’s interesting to see the creation of the miniatures that are used for parts of the film, as the detail used in creating them is something to behold. They designed everything from scratch and from things that would logically be available, as well as some weapons of South African origin that have yet to be used in film to make everything seem more realistic because it’s unfamiliar.

There’s also a Feature Commentary with Marshall, Pertwee, Darren Morfitt, Rick Warden and Les Simpson as well.


If any film has the potential to turn into a John Carpenter style cult classic, it’s Doomsday. It’s a solid DVD that will take some time to get watched en masse.

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Universal presents Doomsday. Written and Directed by Neil Marshall. Starring Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, Malcolm McDowell. Running time: 105 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD:July 29, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.

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