The only thing better than putting graphic horror in space is using the undead to create it. My first taste of space zombies came from the unfortunately short-lived series Firefly. The Reavers in this science fiction western were technically humans living on the edge of civilized space who had reverted to animalistic behavior. But the concept is genius and what has made Dead Space, both the video game and short animation, so intriguing.
Dead Space: Downfall is the prequel to the survival horror video game against “Necromorphs,” an alien DNA that reanimates dead humans. The film follows the mining ship, the Ishimura, after it uncovers an ancient relic while mining a dead planet. In the process of “cracking” off a chunk of rock to mine for ore, the Necromorphs are released and take hold of the crew one by one.
I’d love to say there is more plot than that, maybe more explanation for the creatures or the artifact, but there isn’t. The movie serves its purpose in tantalizing the gamers’ thumbs with 74 minutes of blood and gore. You’re in it for the blood. Commit to the blood! Because there’s a lot of it. The Ishimura is drenched by the end and crawling with jawless, jagged-toothed, spike-handed creatures.
But I also have to warn you — besides the lack of plot, expect a lot of whining, unrealistic dialogue, and vibrant but laughable profanity. It’s going to be there, and the only way around it is to drink a shot every time they say f***, and every time Alissa, the redhead, whines about something. It makes the movie all that more enjoyable.
And Dead Space: Downfall is an enjoyable film. You can’t go wrong with mutilated zombies tearing apart screaming people, and insane screaming people sawing each other in half, both horizontally and vertically. And, most of all, who can pass up a reanimated dead baby flinging itself onto someone’s face? Hilarious.
It’s a spectacle you don’t want to miss. If you’ve already played the game, the movie gives you a sort of background explanation. If you haven’t played it, you’ll want to after watching Dead Space: Downfall. As far as prequels go, it may not be the explanatory film you’re looking for, but it is thrilling, horrifying, and an overall great sci-fi flick.