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Cannibals are hard to resist

SHAMELESS PLEASURES / IN DEFENSE OF 'DOOMSDAY'

July 27, 2008|Kate Aurthur
  • Eden (Rhona Mitra) enters the quarantine zone to look for a disease cure in "Doomsday."
Eden (Rhona Mitra) enters the quarantine zone to look for a disease cure… (Jay Maidment / Universal…)

These days, backlash culture is so firmly entrenched that it's hard to know what movies to love. One second, the world is excited about "Juno"; the next, people are practically picketing it. It's anti-choice! She would have used birth control! The music is annoying!

It's much easier -- and less emotionally confusing -- to love a movie that everyone else hates, such as "Doomsday."

That is, they would hate it if they saw it. "Doomsday," directed by Neil Marshall, was released in theaters in March and was seen by statistically zero people, other than critics who did not like it -- "frenetic, loud, wildly imprecise," said the New York Times -- and a tiny crowd of individuals who love an apocalyptic plague story with a cannibalism subplot.

Which to my surprise includes me. Assuming it does not include you, a brief "Doomsday" primer: Scotland has been overrun by a disgusting plague and is wholly quarantined, with all of its inhabitants left to die. But they don't. Many years later, when the plague has come to London, a young woman named Eden (Rhona Mitra) is charged with leading a military expedition into Scotland to find whether the survivors have a cure. She finds that most of them have turned into cannibals -- mean ones -- led by a man improbably named Sol.

There is a scene in which Sol (Craig Conway) dances in front of his minions to the song "Good Thing" by Fine Young Cannibals before they eat a guy; Malcolm McDowell plays Sol's dad; and the action denouement is a car chase in which Mitra's character drives a non-product placement Bentley. For God's sake, every second is awesome!

When I saw "Doomsday" at the ArcLight Hollywood on, uh, its opening night, the theater was not full. But the small audience did grow more vocal as the movie went on, and toward the end when Sol -- spoiler alert! -- is decapitated, an ovation broke out. No sooner did I think to myself, with some horror, "Are these my people?" than I looked down to notice that my own hands were already clapping.

-- Kate Aurthur

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