I’m not much of a survival horror gamer, as I mostly spend my free time paying RPG games. However, I did check out Dead Space: Downfall and it wasn’t half bad. Tieing in with the new Deadspace 2 videogame coming out, Dead Space: Aftermath takes place after the events of the original Xbox 360/Playstation 3 game. Fanboys will immediately try to write off the film citing it a cash in on a franchise (Halo Legends, anyone?), but at least Aftermath expands on the mythology of Dead Space and expanding the overall story. Now, before you say anything, I want to point out that having played the games or not has little influence on my review. A good movie is a good movie, and this one was very thin and didn’t successfully add anything to the Dead Space universe. Before I delve into the plot, I do want to note that it isn’t all bad. Some of the early exterior space shots are borderline beautiful!
The four survivors of a catastrophe in deep space are found aboard their wrecked spaceship, the O’Bannon amidst the bloody remains of the crew. But for Dr. Isabel Cho, security chief Kuttner, research specialist Stross, and chief engineer Borges, the nightmare has just begun as they are subjected to brutal interrogation and forced to relive the horror of their recent ordeal. It may not be quite as gory as Downfall, but the blood certainly flies and there’s plenty of violence to be found. Meanwhile the unstable Strosser, who views aliens as mankind’s deities, invites disaster by exposing himself to the shard’s power and allowing its influence to spread throughout the ship. The plotline is fairly basic but nothing too bad, it was the cliches that really bothered me. The screenplay is straight up lazy as it strings together one genre trope after another. There really aren’t any surprises at all. The movie is relatively short clocking in right above 70 minutes, and taking into account zombies don’t even show up for a good 40 minutes, well…that is a problem.
Rather than a video game tie in my POV is a visual eye candy of a sci-fi/horror film. For me, the best sequences in Dead Space: Aftermath involve the interrogation of the survivors. Creepy and visually inventive, these segments really stand out. I wish they had added more action sequences since this is aimed at short attention spanned teens. It ended up a bit muddled and felt a little half-baked as a feature film. However, I will say again, some individual moments can be quite compelling. Sadly, is more enticing as a game supplement than as a stand alone venture.
I like the mythology EA is trying to create with the Dead Space franchise, but this film just didn’t succeed what it sought out to do. I can only hope the video game counterpart did a better job at expanding upon the franchise then this film. This release contains no supplements to speak of, and the video quality on the blu-ray is quite shoddy. Anchor Bay should have perhaps put a little more tender love & care with it’s high def product releases. To distinguish between past and present, the anime represents the past carnage, while the CGI counterpart is god awful. Just terrible. All in all, just rent this or watch it online, as I would pass on an outright purchase. Aftermath really misses the mark on everything that was great about the first film. And when the first film got a C+ rating from us, you know that’s bad.