Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Christopher Judge, Peter Woodward, Graham McTavish, Gwendoline Yeo
Directed by Mike Disa
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
You have to give it to EA Games, Visceral Games, and the rest of the folks behind Dead Space. They didn’t just create a great survival horror video game, though that would have been more than enough. Instead, they’ve created an entire universe with its very own set of rules and mythologies. When Dead Space landed on store shelves last year, with it came the animated feature Dead Space: Downfall, which served as a prequel to the game. Now Dead Space: Aftermath is here and serves to bridge the gap to the events of Dead Space 2. Again, as with last time, the biggest question arises — will this be an eighty-minute commercial cash-in for the video-game (*cough* Dante’s Inferno *cough*) or a viable entry into the animated horror sub-genre?
Dead Space: Aftermath takes place right after the events of the first game. The government has lost contact with the USG Ishimura and Isaac Clarke (Dead Space and Dead Space 2), and as a result the USG O’Bannon (a nice nod to the man behind Alien) is sent to investigate exactly what has happened to Isaac, the ship, and the planet Aegis VII, which right now is akin to a time-bomb ready to explode. Upon arrival the crew finds out that the search and rescue part of their mission is taking a big-time backseat to getting down on Aegis and deploying machines to hold the celestial body together. Why not let it explode? Because the government wants to ensure that they have enough time to scour the surface of the planet for pieces of a priceless ancient alien artifact. Of course said artifact is found, and before you know it, people are going crazy, the dead rise, and the blood flows gleefully free!
Let me just say this — Any feature that opens with mangled body parts and organs floating in space immediately has my attention, and to my surprise Dead Space: Aftermath kept it until the very last frame. The film is an anthology-like telling of what happened upon the O’Bannon by its four survivors with their interrogation acting as the wraparound. As with the aforementioned Dante’s Inferno, each tale is directed and drawn by different artists, though the differences between the art styles are thankfully nowhere near as drastic as they were in Dante’s, which was home to a lot of confusion. The film pulls no punches and is lean, mean, and wonderfully dark! Just the way that it should be.
Also on the lean side are the DVD and Blu-ray. Yes, the Blu-ray looks and sounds better than its standard definition cousin, but it also shares the same scant amount of special features that add up to nothing more than the trailer for Dead Space 2. Really? That’s it? You can’t help but smell the stench of missed opportunity lingering in the air.
Make no mistake about it. Dead Space: Aftermath is anything but a cheap cash-in to get people to go and buy the game. It serves perfectly as another chapter in the ever-evolving world filled with bloodthirsty, acid-puking necromorphs. Fans will be delighted, and people just looking for a couple of quick scares told via a perfect blend of traditional art and CG will find themselves pretty pleased as well. Definitely recommended!
4 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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