While I normally like to go into a good amount of depth into my reviews, I'm keeping this one a little short since there really isn't a lot to explain for Dead Space Downfall.
Dead Space Downfall serves as a prequel to the hit video game (and one of my personal favorites), Dead Space. On a remote mining colony called Aegis VII, an alien artifact (simply called the Marker) is extracted and many of the miners involved in the operation believe it's proof that God exists. However, ever since the Marker was extracted, murders and homicides have increased drastically on the colony. The mining ship (aka “planet cracker”) USG Ishimura comes in to break off the section of the planet containing the Marker and the artifact itself is brought on the Ishimura. One of the miners down on the colony sees his wife or girlfriend (don't know exactly the relationship) kill herself with a laser-tipped pickax and the miner puts her body on a small transport shuttle, heading back to the Ishimura. However, he doesn't know that a Necromorph alien snuck on the shuttle and infested the dead woman's body, turning her into a flesh-eating monstrosity, killing the miner and crashing the shuttle in the Ishimura's hangar bay; from that moment on, all hell breaks loose on the ship. Me and my friends like to poke fun at this scene by saying this:
“Congratulations!! You just created the plot for an entire video game!!”
I'd like to get the bad stuff out of the way first. While the plot is somewhat interesting (particularly the struggle between the Unitologists and the “nonbelievers”) and sets up the story pretty nicely for the Dead Space video game, these events are predictable if you've played the game. Character development is completely absent in this cinematic bloodbath and there's not much depth to them at all, either. The characters pretty much remain the same throughout the feature and exist solely for the plot.
Since an interesting plot and intriguing, dymanic characters are what make a film great, you may be asking “ElectroHippy, what's the saving grace of Dead Space Downfall?” What makes DSD worth watching on occasion is its indulgence in completely mindless yet enjoyable violence. There's more violence in DSD than you can shake a Plasma Cutter at, and when taken by itself, it's pretty fun to watch. The Necromorphs are ripping the Ishimura's crew members to pieces and head of security, Alyssa Vincent, has to lead her subordinates into this hell and do what they can to save the ship. Vincent and her crew initially combat the Necromorphs with guns, but when an engineer named Irons comes into the picture with some sort of energy saw, that's when the action gets better. I can watch the crew members decapitate the Necromorphs with those tools all day since nothing says “awesome” more than that. While this method of combat sure is awesome, I was kinda disappointed that they limited themselves to using those tools when they could have used such great tools for the job like the Force Gun, Line Cutter, and Blowtorch. Though I must say, I laughed pretty hard when that fat naked guy in the shower room got ripped into pieces by one of the aliens.
While most movies based off video games have little or nothing in common with the game they're based off of (particularly that cinematic disaster known as Super Mario Bros.), I do have to commend Dead Space Downfall for following the Ishimura's design, character designs, and Necromorph designs down to a T. The Necromorph designs are excellent for their originality and repulsion factor since they're horribly distorted human cadavers with spikes, tentacles, and razor-sharp teeth galore. The baby corpses with tentacles have to be my favorite Necromorph designs since they're so unexpected and hideous.
The voice acting is pretty decent, bordering on average at times. The best voice acting came from none other than Jim Cummings (Dr. Robotnik in SatAM Sonic, Winnie the Pooh, and Darkwing Duck) as the horribly deranged Unitologist and captain of the Ishimura, Captain Mathias. Since Cummings has a penchant for, he was perfect for that role since Mathias doesn't care about the safety of his crew, he just wants to bring the Marker back to the Church of Unitology.
The animation and artwork is pretty decent, though nothing really special. Pretty standard 2D animation fused with standard 3D animation.
When all is said and done, Dead Space Downfall is a mindless gore-infested popcorn flick that's fun to watch on occasion. While people looking for nothing but animated gore may like this, I would recommend this only to fans of the Dead Space video game since fans of that game would hold more appreciation for Dead Space Downfall than viewers who haven't played the game.
What did you think of this review?
Dead Space: Downfall is an animated movie, a prequel to the events of the game Dead Space and takes place after Dead Space: Extraction, taking place while the Necromorphs invade the USG Ishimura after it receives the Red Marker. The movie, developed by Film Roman and EA, was released on DVD October 28, 2008 and broadcast on the Syfy Channel on December 2, 2008.