- Directed by Chuck Patton
- October 28, 2008
- Alissa Vincent-Nika Futterman
- Dr. Kyne-Keith Szarabajka
- Samuel Irons-Kevin Michael Richardson
- Ramirez-Hal Sparks
- Hansen-Phil Morris
- Captain Matthius-Jim Cummings
- Jennifer Barrows-Lia Sargent
- Colin Barrows-Bruce Boxleitner
After a mysterious artifact is discovered on a distant colony, strange and unnatural energies begin to transform the dead into undead predators.
As I understand it this film is based on the first Dead Space video game. For a film meant to hype a videogame it is very good. Sometimes you get quality out of a marketing tool. Much like the game it is a space horror/survival and unlike most films of that type it is animated! How often does that happen?
Dead Space: Downfall is firmly in the R-rated category with blood and disturbing imagery galore. Not just disturbing for a cartoon but disturbing in general. It is a damn creepy film. These are not just horror elements in an animated film. This is an animated horror film. I think this would be rather jarring in an effects heavy live action film.
I will not go so far as to call this genuinely scary, but it does have a malevolent atmosphere throughout which makes it disturbing. Sometimes, like here, being left uneasy is just as good. Reportedly Patton was given a relatively free hand and he aimed to make the goriest thing Film Roman had ever done. I think he succeeded.
The film begins on the planet surface but quickly moves to the mining ship USG Ishimura and focuses on a security team as they fight their way through in an effort to survive. At every turn they encounter weirder and more disturbing elements-some of which comes from fellow survivors.
I have played the Dead Space games before, but it has been many years since I last have so my recollection of the mythology is hazy at the very best. However this film takes multiple elements that I do recall from the games and uses them. There are occasional visual nods to the gameplay and near as I can tell the bulk of the weapons that you would have access to in that game are used by characters in this film.
There are broad religious themes in Dead Space: Downfall. Like I said I’m hazy on the mythology of the games, but it looks as if the Unitologist religion is connected to these artifacts. Based on what you see in the story you could draw the conclusion that somehow the Unitologists are being used by the force behind these artifacts to purge the galaxy of life. Why? That is never explained or implied.
For the uninitiated (and I say that based on my limited recollection of the games) this movie is very accessible. You don’t need an understanding of the series to understand this film. It’s as enjoyable as any other space horror movie. There’s no need to play the game or to have read up on anything here.
The animation is hand-drawn with the use of some computer effects but not too much. I am not a big fan of CGI in animation as any regular reader will know. It tends to age poorly but the CGI they do use in here still looks good and that is perhaps because there wasn’t heavy use of it.
Dead Space: Downfall is an animated film that can be enjoyed by fans of the game series or a movie viewer unfamiliar with them. I recommend this film though it’s probably not for kids. Enjoy!