Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Bruce Boxleitner, Kelly Hu, Keith Szarabajka, Jim Cummings, Kevin Michael Richardson
Directed by Chuck Patton
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
When the idea for Dead Space: Downfall hit my radar, I must admit I was quite worried. A feature length animated film tie-in prequel to a video game? While intriguing, it could have gone horribly wrong, possibly ending up as an eighty-minute commercial brought to us by the fine folks at EA Games. Yet, the company had other ideas. They wanted to release something visceral and not just a quick cash in. To help make this task a reality, they brought aboard animation veteran Chuck Patton to take the directorial helm and comic book geniuses Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray to do the screenplay. The end result? It’s dead on, baby!
We meet the crew of the USG Ishimura as they head off to check out what’s happened on a remote planet that is home to a deep space mining colony. The residents have inadvertently unearthed a huge religious relic that is thought to provide proof of the existence of God. The big problem at hand? This thing is anything but holy. From within the relic a dormant strain of body possessing aliens emerge, and as a result absolute and total carnage ensues. The Ishimura is decimated. Twisted, once human monsters roam its high-tech halls, and that, my friends, is exactly where the video game takes up.
Let me start by saying this … Wow. If you’re going into this expecting some cutesy bit of sci-fi anime, you’re in for a shock. There’s nothing bright and sunny about Dead Space: Downfall. It’s brutal, unrelenting, and savage. Bodies are torn, eviscerated, and mutilated with the kind of reckless abandon you’d expect from Ed Gein on super-crack. This is no kids’ show. Patton, Palmiotti, and Gray are obviously not content with just pushing the proverbial envelope; they are here to push it, paint it red with gore, and then tear the fucker in half. Holy shit, have they succeeded!
While mainly targeting the gamers out there who will no doubt be picking up Dead Space, this feature transcends that audience by delivering a slice of animated horror that stands on its own as one hell of a ride. Not since the original Heavy Metal and Vampire Hunter D have I seen an animated film so provocative. Kudos to all those involved and again … Wow.
So what kind of extra goodies can we expect on the DVD and Blu-ray? They share the same bonus features: a four-minute deleted scene that is shown via unfinished storyboards with audio when needed, an isolated score track, the Art of Dead Space photo gallery, easter egg cheat codes, and the movie and game trailers. Exclusive to the Blu-ray edition is a portable digital copy. In terms of picture quality and sound, the edge as expected goes to the Blu-ray. The transfer on the DVD is quite good, but nothing beats watching stuff in full 1080p, baby.
Dead Space: Downfall is the animated surprise shocker of the year. Filled with twists, turns, and more hard core gore scenes than you could ever imagine, this interstellar spooker belongs in your horror collection. Here’s to the possibility of a sequel that will reunite Patton, Palmiotti, and Gray. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s some strategic dismemberment action waiting for me in my 360! Fuck yeah!
4 1/2 out of 5
3 out 5
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