Devil's Playground Reviews
Not a bad addiction to the infected genre.
Devil's Playground, the debut feature from director Mark McQueen (The Only Way Is Essex and scriptwriter Bart Ruspoli (you may remember him in front of the camera in Band of Brothers) is unapologetic 28 Days Later... fanfic that, let's face it, is probably only worth watching if you're a fan of one or more of the principals. The thing is, I can't imagine anyone not being a fan of at least one of the principals, a number of whom have made their mark in both British and American movies and television over the past decade: Danny Dyer (Doghouse), Colin Salmon (Resident Evil, MyAnna Buring (The Descent), Sean Pertwee (Event Horizon), Jaime Murray (Dexter), Craig Fairbrass (Prime Suspect 2)... the list goes on. It's fun, it's predictable, it's well-acted (though as a number of reviews have noted, the actors are doing they best they can with a watery script), it's a pretty much perfect piece of turn-your-brain-off entertainment.
Which would normally be everything I have to say about this movie, but I want to point out one interesting thing that may have affected my judgment (other than my being an unapologetic Danny Dyer fanboy). I've read a number of comments on the film that mention parkour. I didn't even notice, in the same way I didn't notice the bullet-time sequences in The Matrix until it was pointed out to me a couple of years later that this was, in fact, A Thing. Unlike The Matrix's bullet-time, which seems to have made a lot of people say âwow, that's coolâ? to a movie with an utterly generic script and lackluster-at-best acting, Devil's Playground's parkour seems to have garnered the opposite reaction. And unfortunately, my mentioning it means that if you now go off and watch the movie you're not going to be able to not notice it. But at least you'll be prepared. In any case, just turn your brain off and have fun with it. ***
Only one test subject - Angela Mills (MyAnna Buring) - shows no symptoms of the virus. Cole (Craig Fairbrass), the company's strongarm, is sent to retrieve her and find out why the virus hasn't affected her - and he's running out of time, because he's been infected as well.
Meanwhile, Angela and her friends are heading for a helicopter to meet with her brother Matt (Bart Ruspoli) and escape the city. They meet up with Cole, and as it is with every zombie movie, we're treated to how people react to one another in a very stressful situation as they try to survive and make it out of London.
I love zombie flicks, but I've seen some horrible ones. This one isn't one of them. The characters are well-developed and more than just one-dimension, the storyline (although it has connections to "Resident Evil") is engaging, and the zombies are cool. Watching how the survivors turn on one another was entertaining because you actually grow to either love or hate the characters based on their actions. A great low-budget zombie flick all around.
Yet another modern zombie flick that has nothing new to add at all, there's almost no reason at all why anyone needs to see this; yet somehow I oddly kind of enjoyed this cheap, simple, decently packaged fast zombie slice of throwaway B-movie fluff. This attempts to follow on the footsteps of the much better 21 days later with the zombies infected with some sort of chemical, only here the scientists featured are wholly incompetent with their 100% fail rate resulting in the zombie outbreak. Low end British star Danny Dyer plays (shock horror) a tough London crook, though he isn't really the main focus here which is on quite a wide assortment of little known faces. There's plenty of what most people want from a film of this type (blood, zombies getting smashed up) which is enough for a half recommendation, though there's nothing else here of any value whatsoever.