Yes, this writer/director has been responsible for two of the best low budget horror movies of recent years. In Dog Soldiers, he melded the combat film with the werewolf movie and came out with something startlingly good. In The Descent, he crafted what was quite simply one of the scariest films of all time. So what then are we to make of Doomsday? This futuristic shocker features an amalgam of scenes lifted wholesale from other (frankly better) films -to be specific, 28 Days Later, Aliens, Escape From New York, Army of Darkness and Mad Max 2;The Road Warrior. They're all here and all of them are instantly recognizable, so much so that you cannot pass it off as coincidence. Some viewers will utter the word 'homage,' but the less charitable among us will prefer to say 'rip-off.'
As you watch Doomsday unfold, you can't stop asking yourself what Marshall hoped to accomplish here. The film must have had a decent budget and it looks great. Furthermore, he has an undeniable flair for action sequences. But though the film can never be accused of being dull, neither does it feature anything that is remotely surprising, largely because you've seen it all before. In the case of the climactic car chase, it is quite simply, Mad Max 2, down to the last detail. It's as though Marshall decided to recreate key scenes from all his favorite movies and while you grudgingly admit, he's done a fair job of copying them, you can't help yearning for a bit of originality, something that his last two films had in abundance.
The star of the movie Rhona Mitra plays it straight as tough as nails warrior who leads the charge from segment to segment. I have never seen a woman take so much pain and only have few scratches. A few more positive reviews and big American star (like Will Smith) could have push the movie over the top. Unfortunately we won't see a sequel and this is one that could have spawned one if it could have topped $40 million mark. After all they have made four SAW movies.
This feels like a serious hiccup in his career - and some murmurings about a planned sequel to The Descent don't bode well for his next offering either. The suspicion is that he's mirroring John Carpenter's career, a director who was brilliant when he had no money, but whose output became increasingly dismal as his budgets grew in size. It's a shame because few British directors get the autonomy to make films on this scale. My fingers are crossed for his future career, but on the strength of Doomsday, my expectations are not high right now.