Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

One of the interesting debates I’ve read in regards to this animated film ‘Dead Space: Downfall’ is whether you should watch this prequel before you play the game or after you play the game. If you haven’t seen it yet, then I guess it doesn’t matter, and if you aren’t a gamer then it certainly doesn’t matter, and while my XBOX was sitting under my TV collecting dust, after watching this incredibly gory, profane animated feature, I went out and picked up a Greatest Hits copy of EA’s Dead Space. Note that this is a full three years after the movie and the game have come out, because I can guarantee you that I’m not spending sixty bucks on a videogame. No how, no way. The term you’re looking for is ‘cheap bastard’. Now if this video game really blows me away, I might think about waiting only two years to watch the newly released ‘Dead Space: Aftermath’ and subsequently picking up ‘Dead Space 2’, because I did enjoy this first animated feature. But we will have to see because sixty bucks is not happening.

So we are in this alternate future reality, space travel is fairly common and there is a wacky religion called Unitology which runs everything. I am unsure about the where and the why of all of this, but for some reason the freighter Ishimura is at this location to retrieve this odd, monolithic item and take it back to earth to enlighten the people on the awesomeness of Unitology. They also need to break up some dead planets and retrieve some colonist who have gone completely nuts and slaughtered each other. Peculiar.

The chief security officer of the Ishuimura, Alyssa Vincent (voiced by Nika Futterman) has all kinds objections to everything that’s going on with this mission. She thinks taking this monolith back to earth is terrible idea, she thinks the stuff that went down at the colony needs to be investigated and mostly she thinks her captain is an idiot. She would be right on just about every point.

Without getting too much into how it happened, just know that the infection that was on the colony that caused massive slaughter has made its way onto the Ishimura. What

is this infection? Well, in a nutshell it’s kind of like the alien infection in John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ where humans, mostly dead ones, are transformed into horrible beasts. Only these beasts are bigger, faster, stronger, meaner, uglier, more violent, damn near invulnerable, and smarter. This is bad on all levels of badness.

The mission for Alyssa and her beleaguered staff of hardass security officers is to kill these monsters and save the ship. The only problem with this is that pretty much everybody on the ship, including the most wicked babies ever, have been transformed into monsters. The number has to be in the thousands. Thank goodness for Samuel Irons (Kevin Michael Richardson) and his light saber chainsaws. But here’s the thing, and I hate to spoil it for you, but considering I’m playing the first part of the game right now… Alyssa and her crew totally didn’t get the job done. In fact if they had just done a little better job I don’t think I’d be dying every three minutes while playing this stupid game.

It’s an interesting thing that Electronic Arts is doing with a few of their game properties. I also saw their ‘Dante’s Inferno’ animated epic which I didn’t care for too much, but I can’t say that about ‘Dead Space: Downfall’ which I did enjoy mightily, albeit with some reservations.

For starters this is one violent-ass animated movie. I mean you are going to have to dig deep into your Japanese anime archives to find something that comes as close to being as brutally and as bloodily violent as ‘Dead Space: Downfall’. With the nicely realized hand drawn organic figures often placed in front of impressively rendered 3D graphics, you will see every form of skewering, dismembering, gutting and Michelangelo styled bloody wall painting than your sick little brain could possibly imagine. Director Chuck Patton rarely slows his movie down to give us some story elements, which in honesty this movie could’ve used. I mean it’s a prequel right? Most prequels exist to lay the narrative foundation for what we have seen prior. ‘Dead Space: Downfall’ does have some exposition, but it feels as if it exists to mainly inform us that it was F’d up before we got the Ishimura, just like it’s F’d up now that we are on the Ishimura.

Another thing we probably could’ve done without was the profanity. Now I have no problems with the potty mouth, but cursing properly is a bit of an art form in of itself. The profanity in this movie felt as if it was stuck in because they could do it. Like listening to a fourteen year old trying to rip off a few cuss words, because they don’t yet understand the proper insertions of these cuss words.

The voice acting overall was hit and miss, the animation was a little stiff but the images were very good, and I was just a little surprised that there was no gratuitous nudity in this. Since a lot of what we were watching was a little infantile at times with all the cursing and the focus on brains getting sucked out, I fully expected to see some unnecessary tits running from the vicious monsters. Oddly enough I’m pleased that didn’t happen.

But the bottom line is I had a good time with ‘Dead Space: Downfall’. Even more so because I found a brand new Greatest Hits copy of the game for $9.95. The term you’re looking for is Cheap Bastard. Thank you very much.

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