Doomed (2007)

DVD Cover (Maverick Entertainment)
Michael Su Michael Su
Drew Russell Drew Russell
Kara Schaaf Kara Schaaf
Edwin Villa Edwin Villa
Aaron Gaffey Aaron Gaffey
Mary Christina Brown Mary Christina Brown

3.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres / Traits: Horror, Parody / Spoof, Zombie Film, Reality Television
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Review by Chad
Added: April 17, 2007
So, there's this little series that some of you may have heard of called Survivor that comes on television every week or so. Yeah, I know, it isn't exactly a mainstream show (I think it comes on at like three in the morning), but I've heard rumors going around that it has a small cult following in the midwest and that it may even go national at some point. Seriously though, have you seen the ratings for that show? It seems like most of the United States is glued to the tube whenever it comes on, but yet, nobody will actually admit to watching it. I get the feeling that some of you may be hiding a secret love for the show, but it's readily apparent that Michael Su, the director of Doomed, had no problems with laying it all out in the open.

Taking place on the small island known as Isla de Romero (snazzy name), Doomed shows us a couple of back-to-back "episodes" of Survival Island 2020, a reality TV show that takes place in the near future. On this show, five groups of convicts - murderers, thieves, computer hackers, etc. - all compete with one another in an attempt to complete the single goal: be the first to reach the other side of the island. The winner receives fifty-million dollars and a full pardon for their crimes, so this should be the easiest show on television, right? Not quite: this island was the testing ground for a failed government experiment which was aimed to create "super soldiers", but instead, created hordes of 28 Days Later-inspired zombies. Now that is a reality TV show that I would tune in to religiously.

Along the way, the players can find stashes of items to assist them in their mission. These goodie bags consist of a wide variety of items: food, water, an uzi, a katana, a chainsaw, and various other weapons of not quite so massive destruction. However, just like in any respectable reality TV show, there's plenty of arguing and fighting amongst the players, and when something like a full canteen of water or a powerful weapon is at stake, well... let's just say that the zombies may not be the most dangerous things on the island.

I probably shouldn't have enjoyed this as much as I did; after all, I truly despise the various reality TV shows that plague the airwaves, and although I enjoy a good zombie movie, the recent crop of offerings from the genre have been less than stellar. Combine those two things together, and Doomed was almost destined to fail before I had even popped it into my DVD player. But lo and behold, it turned out to be pretty damned engaging, and it had actually managed to suck me in completely by the time the credits were rolling.

One thing that I particularly enjoyed, ironically enough, was the way that this truly looked like the latest reality TV show. I sort of expected that angle to be used as nothing more than an excuse to dump a bunch of kids on an island and let them get devoured, but I was way off the mark in that assumption. Even ignoring the obvious things (the grand prize, the item stashes, the bickering), this has everything one would expect to find in a horror-based version of Survivor: on screen prompts telling the home audience when someone has died, a points system based on how many kills each person has achieved (more points for creative kills), and yes, there's even a recap "episode" to be found towards the middle of the movie that - much like real television - makes the things that you just watched look a whole lot better than they actually were.

I especially liked the fact that nobody was safe on this island. As the game begins, the usual stereotypes are made: this guy is going to go the distance, this chick is the "star" of the movie, that guy is there to serve as nothing more than eventual zombie chow, and those chicks over there are just hanging around to round out the cast. Then, the person that you figured would win bites the big one. Alright, so they're going to go with this person winning it... nope, they died too. The film is full of surprises from beginning to end, and I was pleasantly surprised when the movie had wrapped up.

The only negative things that I can say about this was that it was a low-budget offering, and as such, some of the effects are sort of sketchy and not all of the acting is top-of-the-line stuff. However, neither of those turned me off to the film as a whole, but just keep in mind that this is not a billion-dollar production and some allowances have to be made in terms of what can be done with a minimal amount of cash. If you can get over that and are in the market to watch a fun, refreshing take on the zombie genre, Doomed is something that you really ought to pick up. 8/10.
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