Neil Marshall's Doomsday Movie Arrives in March
Neil Marshall, director of 2006's horror hit The Descent, recently finished Doomsday, a futuristic sci-fi action movie in the vein of Mad Max that he wrote and directed. You may be asking, what exactly is Doomsday? Even I don't know the answer, because besides the footage I saw at Comic-Con (which is now a blur in my memory), there are still no trailers or anything else released. Rogue Pictures has just set a March 14th release date and with that, we'll do our best to introduce you to the world of Doomsday and until a trailer arrives, explain some of what you might expect.
To kick it off, here's the official synopsis. In Doomsday, a lethal virus spreads throughout a major country and kills hundreds of thousands. To contain the newly identified Reaper, the authorities brutally quarantine the country as it succumbs to fear and chaos. The literal walling-off works for three decades - until Reaper violently resurfaces in a major city. An elite group of specialists, including Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), is urgently dispatched into the still-quarantined country to retrieve a cure by any means necessary. Shut off from the rest of the world, the unit must battle through a landscape that has become a waking nightmare.
From there we'll leave it to Neil Marshall himself to describe what it's NOT via his MySpace blog:
"Well, just to clarify, Doomsday is NOT a horror film. Yes, it's dark. Yes, it's brutal and violent. And yes, it 's even a little scary at times. But a horror film it is not. The mistake, and this seems to be based on contemporary cinema lore, which states that virus = zombies. With the likes of everything from 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, Resident Evil, and most recently in I Am Legend, it seems that any film dealing with a virus automatically has to have some variation of the living dead running around devouring people. Well, our virus is back to basics. The real deal. It kills people. Pure and simple. As lethal and effective as a virus really is. Okay, so it rots you from the outside in, covering the victim with weeping soars and dripping pustules and liquefies the internal organs, but the end result is…you die. And you don't come back. That said, Doomsday is not primarily a virus movie either. The 'Reaper' virus acts as a catalyst for the action, it's responsible for creating the world of the story, but doesn't drive the narrative."
Marshall has been working on this for 12 months, shooting from January to May (for a total of 66 days) last year in Cape Town, Africa, an experience that he describes as "an adventure in an amazing landscape." Marshall goes on to say that one the best parts about shooting in Cape Town was that all the stunt and action work was done completely realistically. He describes some of the work and action scenes below.
"One of the things I was adamant about doing with Doomsday was going back to a kind of gritty stunt/action movie that doesn't get made anymore. Real people, in a real world, doing really REALLY dangerous stuff! No green screen, no wires, just crazy stunties standing on, jumping into, and hanging out of cars travelling at 80mph and smashing into each other! When I wanted to crash and roll a 10 ton armoured transport (one of two we designed and built especially for the movie), they hadn't done anything like that before, but were perfectly happy to give it a try, and it worked spectacularly!"
"We exploded countless pyro's in the centre of Cape Town, in the middle of the night. We closed down the city centre (to stage a frantic foot/bus/motorbike chase) on a Saturday afternoon! We took over a major theme park, dressed it as the villains lair (playing host to a twisted Moulin Rouge-style stage show and a spot of brutal human sacrifice!) and filled it with a thousand screaming extras, waving baseball bats, hanging from the rafters and generally baying for blood. They had a lot of fun that night, and so did we."
If what he described there didn't get action-fanatics foaming at the mouth for more, than just wait, we're not done. Although it is prevalent in much of anything he has described, the footage I saw at Comic-Con reminded me a lot of a Mad Max style dusty, desert-like kind of movie. There were tribes and "punks" and cars, dune buggies, and motorcycles all rigged with scrap metal and weapons. But as Marshall goes on to say, they really took this to the extreme and packed it full of action based in all kinds of various locations.
"We commandeered a Russian freighter in dry dock to film the opening shoot-out, a steam train for an escape sequence, and a derelict slaughterhouse to stage an elaborate 10 min action sequence that'll leave you breathless and shell shocked, and we did it all for real."
Director Neil Marshall hoists one of the rocket launchers they made for the film.
After reading most of what Marshall has said and thinking about the footage I saw, I'm anxiously awaiting a final trailer and the chance to actuially see this. From the sounds of it and the work that Neil has put into it, I don't want this one to go unmentioned in March. It may not be the best movie of the year, but it sounds like he's taken a unique approach to creating a gritty all-out futuristic thriller action movie and I'm damn excited to see it. He's even got Tyler Bates, who did the music for 300, doing the music for this.
If you're interested in reading Neil's entire blog post, head over to MySpace - it's quite an intriguing look at the life of a passionate filmmaker. As mentioned earlier, Doomsday is currently set to arrive in theaters on March 14th. Look for a trailer and more in the next few months leading up to its release. For more info, visit DoomsdayisComing.com.