Review: Doom: Annihilation is an Unsurprisingly Terrible Film
Don’t waste your time on this horrendous film directed by Tony Giglio.
By Jay Gervais
Before we get into destroying this movie, let’s talk about what makes the DOOM video games so special. For one, it never really takes itself too seriously because how can it? Let’s face it, the basic premise is absolutely absurd and would go something like this: a seemingly unstoppable and totally unhinged brute finds himself in some deep shit and needs some really big guns to wreak havoc on some equally-savage demons who try to turn his day from bad to worse.
The main ingredient of any DOOM game is the balls-to-the-wall carnage that probably feels like slamming an injection of steroids directly into the bloodstream. Suddenly, the world we once knew disappears into darkness and we are transported into some demonic rock concert that has series composer Mick Gordon booked along with his nine-string guitar, which probably has a life of its own.
Doom: Annihilation is none of these things, but it sure does try to be with rather amusing results. We follow a group of United Aerospace Corporation (UAC) space marines who are assigned to guard a base located somewhere on Phobos, a moon orbiting the planet Mars. What they don’t know is that some dimwitted scientists at the facility are messing around with these ancient teleporters known as “Gates.” Naturally, when insatiable human curiosity mingles with unfamiliar alien technology, things are bound to get a little messy… Perhaps in the form of demons crashing in on their party and pummeling their way through some unfortunate souls?
The alarm bells are raised when our ragtag crew of marines lose contact with the base and are then ordered to investigate and attempt to restore power to the facility. The group moves out with about as much enthusiasm as this writer felt about the film’s plot, which seriously lacks in originality.
Moving on, nearly every character is unlikable and forgettable. Our protagonist, Lt. Joan Dark (Amy Manson), comes off as a bit too sassy for her own good and acts like she doesn’t want to be leading this mission (or this movie for that matter). As for the rest, you probably won’t care for any of them except Dr. Malcolm Betruger (Dominic Mafham), Dr. Bennett Stone (Luke Allen-Gale), and maybe Pvt. Carley Corbin (Nina Bergman). Anyone not on that list is expendable and should be treated as small, insignificant parts to help move us along this train wreck that just keeps getting worse.
Without really giving away the rest of the film, we do need to talk about the demons, or lack thereof, at least. Way too much emphasis is placed on these lab coat zombies that do make for a great opportunity to show off some special effects, such as for target practice or to dine on the flesh of the living, but things get stale very quickly in Doom: Annihilation when it’s more or less the same thing over and over again. You almost feel a sense of relief when the Imps finally show up later in the film, but the moment is ruined by some really awful costume design, not to mention the cringe-worthy fireball effects that attempt to give this obvious man in a rubber suit some personality.
Where is the Cyberdemon? Or the Baron of Hell? It’s probably too much to ask for the Spider Mastermind with the budget constraints, but come on! How can you call this a DOOM movie without including more iconic demons that fans would know and love from the series? Doom: Annihilation doesn’t even have the Slayer (or whatever name you prefer to refer to him as). When you consider both of these glaring omissions, why bother insulting fans by slapping the DOOM name on it?
The few things Doom: Annihilation does get right are the set designs, weapons, and most of the score. In some cases, the sets do give off that low-budget vibe, but considering how elaborate some of it tried to be, we can’t help but give that aspect a passing grade. As for the limited arsenal of weapons in the film, there’s not really much to complain about there and fans should be satisfied with the BGF 9000 featured later in the film. Finally, the film score by Frederik Wiedmann is decent, but if you’re expecting that sweet Mick Gordon sound, forget about it. Wiedmann gives us a mostly traditional score with an electronic twist that, for the most part, fits well with the overall film.
Our verdict on Doom: Annihilation is really quite simple: go ahead and skip it. The film was disappointing through and through. It’s no surprise that id Software, the developers behind the DOOM series, chose to distance themselves from this film. You should too.
Some of the set designs were interesting and elaborate. Fans should be happy with the weapons featured in the film and the music by Frederik Wiedmann works well enough.
Where do we begin?
The bottom line is that this movie is unworthy of the DOOM name and the experience is like a rundown haunted house that deserves a foreclosure. From its lame story to creatures that seriously lack in variety and function, Doom: Annihilation is a terrible movie nobody needs to suffer through.