Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Doom: Annihilation' (2019)
Doom, take two...
You may remember from my review of the original Doom (2005), that fans were unnecessarily critical of it for not really using any of the video game cannon. My response to this was, "So the fuck what?" It had all the right elements for a fun action/horror, and still had enough similarities with the video game franchise to call itself Doom. It also pioneered the FPS movie years before things like Hardcore Harry or Found Footage Hybrids like Chernobyl Diaries.
Unfortunately, it was only a mater of time before some fanboy got it stuck in his craw, that he could reboot the franchise and 'do it right.' I was immediately skeptical because, -and I cannot stress this enough- we're talking about a video game which provides BARELY enough substance as a franchise to make a movie.
But hey, the best part about this remake, is that in order to be satisfactory, it just has to be a hair better than the second Mortal Kombat movie. That will qualify it for 'So bad it's good.' If this sad excuse for a 'fanboy wet dream' manages to be equal to its predecessor, it might actually be good.
SO!... The big question I'm sure on every-body's mind... DID! IT! SUCK!!! Eh, it was okay. Honestly, I think Doom (2005) was better. This has the production quality of a Sci-Fi Channel original, which means 2005 was just better quality. The acting of 2005 was even slightly better, though just as hammy. Hell, the monsters and zombies from 2005 are even better than this movie. It's not like this representation of the game is more accurate. It just includes the term 'demon' while 2005 lacked that supernatural element.
The FX aren't exactly better. As I mentioned, this seemed to have a lower production value and it shows on everything from the CGI to the rubber monster suits. Honestly, it's like they weren't even trying. They did add little goodies from the game, but it was like shoddy lip service. If you watched this movie without the gamer background like I have, or at least having played the game, you'll miss them or it will come off as odd trope placement with no context.
The question should always be, apart from the franchise, does this stand alone on it's own merits as a movie? Yes, but only because it falls firmly into the category of "So Bad It's Good" good-bad movies. It's hammy and silly, but still gory and violent. Importantly, you can tell someone tried to take production seriously which means the abject failure of this movie to be serious only makes it more entertaining.
But what about it's connection to the franchise? For a movie that marketed itself on being close to the video game, it was everything but. The creature designs were every bit as off as 2005, the weapons and gear were also off. Practically the only thing they really did get right was the key card colors.
AND THE DOUBLE BARREL MAKES AN APPEARANCE. Mind you, the double barrel, a gamer favorite, didn't show up until Doom 2. It was just a nice touch to make the ol' gamer in me squee like a little bitch. It took me back to the days of Doom Online back on the New London hub, when all we had was dial-up. There were lots of little things like that, such as the key cards and even a barrel kill. I do sorta wanna know what a chainsaw is doing on the moon of Mars. Lotta logging up there on Phobos? Still, couldn't have Doom without a chainsaw. Then finally, of course, because it's in a contract somewhere or some shit, The BFG 9000...
It should be noted that all of this just help slump this movie firmly into good-bad status. The game itself was kinda hammy. It's not like 'Demons from Mars' is really a strong premise for anything that should be taken seriously. Having played Doom 1 and 2, until I'd meticulously discovered every secret without a guide book, and being so obsessed I even read the books, I don't think any one took it more seriously than me. To be fair, I was 12.
So if you couldn't tell by now, I absolutely do recommend this hacky adaptation, but only to Riffers. Go in expecting to bomb on this marvelous disaster and you will enjoy it.
I think the absolute sin of this movie was the ending boss fight. You see, unlike Doom (2005), there was only really two monsters. There were Zombies and Imps. At least 2005 had something to fill in the Demon and Baron of Hell slots, even if they were never called demons. The point is, 2005 had adopted variety to the monsters in the damn movie.
If this movie was the 'true Doom' that it was billed as, it should have had zombie minions with guns, lost souls, demons, specters, Cacodemons, Barons and Princes of Hell, and of course the lovable imps. But most importantly and most offensively, THE GOD DAMN CYBER DEMON!!! If anyone claims to do Doom right, they have to end it with a proper boss fight, and that means against the legendary bady itself, the Cyber Demon. I could, frankly fail this movie for the lack of Cyber Demon alone.
And what the fuck is with this lame demonic intelligence at the end of the movie? Who fucking designed that travesty? Say what you want about how 2005's monsters looked nothing like the Doom monsters, but at least they were interesting. This was just shit.
However, if you're looking for something to riff with your friends over drinks and pizza, look no further. This movie is awful in all the right ways.