Saturday, November 27, 2010

Candidate # 4


(August 2010)

As if Great Britain just couldn’t wait for the next 28 installment, they let themselves in for yet another zombie apocalypse in Mark McQueen’s debut feature, Devil’s Playground.

This time out, the infection stems from the trialists of a new over-the-counter performance boosting drug, RAK 295, courtesy of pharmaceutical company, N-Gen Industries (though the pronunciation appears to be “new gen”).

Among the familiar Brit cinema faces in Devil’s Playground are Danny Dyer (Severance, Doghouse), MyAnna Buring (The Descent, Lesbian Vampire Killers, Red Mist), Colin Salmon (Exam), Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers, Wilderness, Equilibrium), and Jaime Murray (Dexter Season 2).

The script by Bart Ruspoli (who also stars as Matt) is the sort that paints the still human as manipulative and lying schemers that are somehow worse than the infected. Either that, or imperfect individuals looking for a second chance, or just doing their best to get by; there aren’t any cut-and-dried heroes in this one.

It’s also an interesting point of the script that RAK 295 is meant to help those who take it cope better with the hectic and fast-paced modern world, and yet turns the trialists into rabid, ravening creatures intent only on preying on others, as if they somehow represent the necessary evolutionary step required to best deal with the 21st-century world; as if life has careened to the point where normal humans just can’t cut it anymore.

There isn’t necessarily anything groundbreakingly new in Devil’s Playground (it’s not a ZFD-- Zombie Film with a Difference), but it is nonetheless an excellent example of a “traditional” infected piece, done well.

And you really gotta love them Parkour zombies. (They’re actually not as daft as that makes them sounds, and they’re certainly more menacing than the ridiculous Spider-zombies in the Day of the Dead redux.)

(Devil’s Playground OS courtesy of

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