Devil's Playground Reviews
This is what RESIDENT EVIL-APOCALYPSE should have been.
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 ‚wow, that's cool‚? 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. ***
Devil's Playground may have an awful script and some bad writing but the performances were mediocre. The actors in the movie include Jaime Murray, Craig Fairbrass and Danny Dyer. Jaime Murray gives out a decent performance, as does the other cast including Craig Fairbrass, he's better in Devil's Playground than he ever was in Dead Cert but the one thing that shocked me about Devil's Playground was Danny Dyer, he was actually surprisingly good. His character's personality is the same as Danny Dyer's (as always) so it wasn't too hard but there were a couple of times when Danny's character had some emotional scenes and I thought he played them rather well. Now, while everything else about the movie isn't really very good, there's some positivity in form of the action scenes and, of course, the zombies. Devil's Playground has had some good action scenes involving chasing and fighting and I would have to take my hat off to whoever thought of adding the parkour zombies as to me, that is a stroke of genius to use in a zombie movie. It makes them a little more scarier now that there's certain things that can not slow them down and there were some impressive, slick moves and I wouldn't mind seeing more zombies like that in future horror movies. Even though the idea of free-running zombies is quite a scary thought (well, it is to me anyway) and a great idea to use in a movie, Devil's Playground isn't a scary movie. It's more of a violent thriller than a horror as there's nothing to scare you or make you jump or make you feel insecure but there's just the idea of faster zombies.
Just like 28 Days Later and other zombie movies, Devil's Playground doesn't offer us anything new and it's all been done before but with a twist. Is the twist worth getting the movie? Not really, as the story is mediocre, the characters are annoying and the dialogue is close to awful. The only good things are the action scenes, which I have seen better in other zombie movies, and the zombies, which is a great idea. Basically, if you've seen 28 Days Later or Resident Evil, imagine those two mixed together but with Danny Dyer in it and you get Devil's Playground.
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.