Dead Space: Downfall is the 2008 animated movie that was released in tandem with the video game Dead Space and serves as a prequel to the game. It is also one of the many movies I have started and fell asleep watching, not because of the content but because I make poor choices like starting them at 3 AM. This time I was able to get the whole way through without conking out.
Downfall takes place in the future, where giant spaceships are sent out to mine resources from uninhabited planets. In this case, the crew of the USG Ishimura has embarked on a planet cracking mission when they discover an ominous glowing obelisk they appropriately deem “The Marker”. Part of the crew has a (sometimes fanatical) religious affinity for it, calling themselves Unitologists and classifying The Marker as a holy object. They soon find they were very wrong when it releases a sickness into the ship, turning the crew into horrific monsters hellbent on spreading the disease.
The film makes good use of the various monsters from the game; I don’t think they left any of the main ones out. In the game most of the areas are void of human life so it was cool to see the necromorphs do nasty things to victims that aren’t you for a change. The action was violent and the fight scenes where exhilarating. The weapons used, from the lightsaber-esque chainsaws to rapid fire pistols, all had great sound effects that really immersed me in the action. I happened to check out the special features on the DVD and found a gem of a deleted scene where the main character fights a giant amalgamation of corpses in what compares to a boss battle in the game. The deleted scene was only in storyboard form and makes me wonder how much better it would have been with full animation.
The animation quality was fine but some of the 3D modeling didn’t age well. I’m sure it looked fine when it was originally released. Much of the quality content is front-loaded in Downfall, with the scariest scenes in the opening act. My favorite part. incidentally a scene involving no necromorphs, is when the captain, voiced by Jim Cummings (Winnie the Pooh), freaks out and accuses the crew of conspiring against him. I did not, however, like the main character too much. It was nice to see a women calling the shots for a change but it would have been better if she wasn’t modeled after every action movie hero in history. The dialogue for this character was lazy, unimaginative, and even cringe inducing at some points. It became clear to me early on that this movie was unrated when every other word out of anyone’s mouths was “fuck”. It added to the sense of realism early on but was ridiculously abused by the end. The ending was meh-worthy but did tie on a nice bow on top setting up the video game seamlessly.
4 jawless, quad-armed, giant spike equipped zombies in space out of 5