A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this post-apocalyptic action-horror movie is brimming with bloody, splatty, graphic violence. Weapons include guns, swords, arrows, knives, and grenades, and brutal images include suicide by gun, decapitation, stabbing, torture, shooting, fighting, cannibalism, car chases, and crashes. A woman's naked breasts are visible during a shooting; other scenes feature pole dancing and cleavage-revealing outfits. Language includes lots of "f--k"s, plus other profanity. The heroine smokes cigarettes.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Like so many of its post-apocalyptic precursors, DOOMSDAY sets a reluctant hero against the world. In this case, she's DDS Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), a tough chick with emotional baggage (she lost her mother) and bionic extras (a spy camera/recorder eyeball). Trained by chief Bill Nelson (Bob Hoskins), she's long used to adversity in a divided UK, where a wall partitions England and Scotland to quarantine a virus. In 2035, when the virus resurfaces, the prime minister's conniving assistant sends her to Glasgow to retrieve a man named Dr. Kane (Malcolm McDowell), who may have developed an antidote. Her mission: Resist the brutal tribal punks who now control the city, recover the doctor (or the antidote), and return to London.
Is it any good?
Derivative by definition, the movie pits Eden against enemies and challenges that showcase her courage and intelligence (think the Alien films) and her lethal expertise (shades of Resident Evil). The predictable, video game-like plot doesn't allow much in the way of character development, though Eden does admire team member Sergeant Norton (Adrian Lester), who displays a singular moral sensibility, and so, must suffer dire consequences.
Like Neil Marshall's other films (Dog Soldiers and The Descent), Doomsday is full of gore and fierce battles for survival. It also alludes to social/political issues like AIDS and the Katrina catastrophe. Still, such broader dimensions tend to be overshadowed by the harrowing, bloody action. While Eden draws obvious inspiration from her tough-chick role models (Linda Hamilton, Kate Beckinsale, even Buffy), she's also a vaguely new kind of mad girl. Anticipating the direst end, Eden chooses the cannibal punks, declaring herself for them, in terms they appreciate. It's a grim resolution, even in this post-apocalypse.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the kinds of things that post-apocalyptic movies often have in common. How does Hollywood tend to signal a civilization in decline? What other movies does this one remind you of? What sets it apart? Is it significant that the main character is a woman? How does Eden see the world differently from her male adversaries? How does her traumatic past shape her attitude toward authority and morality?
- In theaters: March 14, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: July 28, 2008
- Cast: Adrian Lester, Bob Hoskins, Rhona Mitra
- Director: Neil Marshall
- Studio: Rogue Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, language and some sexual content/nudity.
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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