Friday 18 May 2012

Devil's Playground (2010)

Director Mark McQueen and writer Bart Ruspoli are the men responsible for this British zombie horror movie and it's a shame that they take a few decent moments and ground them in a movie that's just far too derivative and silly to please many fans. The first hurdle it has is the cast (I am possibly the one person I know who likes watching Danny Dyer onscreen), the second hurdle is the familiarity with all of the material and the third, and biggest, hurdle is that this movie features zombies doing parkour. Oh yes, you read that correctly. Freerunning zombies, that's the fresh approach that this film tries to take with the material. Needless to say, it's a stinker of an idea that translates into a number of risible moments within the film.

So, the plot is as follows: Lots of people have been undergoing medical trials for a new wonderdrug and when things go wrong they go REALLY wrong. Everyone is affected badly, all but one - a woman (Angela, played by MyAnna Buring) who the folks in charge now want to get a hold of, what with her possibly possessing some kind of cure that could stop a major epidemic and all that. Craig Fairbrass plays Cole, a man who is used to being given the jobs that need to be done but don't ever need to be admitted to, and he is the one sent to find Angela. Meanwhile, Danny Dyer plays Joe, a cop who used to go out with Angela but had to put the relationship on hold when he went and stupidly shot some kid by accident. These people may be able to help each other survive while crowds of bitey bitey freerunners run amock but they will have to overcome many various difficulties - locations, emotional issues, threats from other people wanting to survive - on the way.

There's very little I can say right now that will win you over if you already think that you're going to dislike this film. Because, let's be honest, you're probably going to dislike this film. The acting is so-so from all involved (as much as I like the lad, Dyer gives an especially poor performance here but Fairbrass is good at what he does and Buring is watchable) while the script is nothing more than a 90 minute game of "spot the reference", be it from 28 Days Later... or the Resident Evil movies or anthing else that has come along since. There's not one original idea here except for the freerunning, and whoever thought of that should be taken to the nearest, large town square available and publically flogged.

There are a few good SFX moments here and there showing the infection taking hold and there are a couple, though not enough, of good gore moments. The rest of the cast at least features people such as Colin Salmon, Jaime Murray, Sean Pertwee, Shane Taylor and Craig Conway so there are a number of familiar faces to support the leads but it's not enough to save the film.

Dear British filmmakers, please note that in any future scripts you may want to develop the word "zombie" should never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever EVER be preceded by the word "freerunning". Thanks.


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