Devil’s Playground is director Mark McQueen‘s first venture into the feature film arena. Better known as the director of the “reality” television series The Only Way Is Essex, McQueen hasn’t done too badly in his maiden voyage.
Unfortunately the film feels an awful lot like the 2008 Brit-flick Doomsday but without the added benefit of director Neil Marshall or Rhona Mitra or Bob Hoskins. Playground does use a lot of the same actors though.
Sean Pertwee (and what would a low budget British horror film be without him), MyAnna Buring (who also was immune to the ‘virus’ that plaqued, sorry, England in Doomsday), and Craig Conway (who played MyAnna’s brother in Doomsday).
So okay we do have Colin Salmon (who has done the whole zombie bit before in Resident Evil 2002) and Danny Dyer (who is also an alumni of British horror because he played the drugged out prat in 2006’s Severance and he also did the 2009 horror film Doghouse), but, to the best of my knowledge Craig Fairbrass has never been in an apocalyptic zombie film before.
Interestingly enough the ruggedly good looking Fairbass got his start working on an English television show called London’s Burning. He went to America to work and Hollywood’s never really known what to do with him.
The basic plot of Devil’s Playground is not blazingly original. A chemical/pharmaceutical company is doing tests on people using an ‘enhancement’ drug that, apart from one test subject (Buring), is turning the participants into adrenalin fuelled scary zombies.
Craig Fairbrass plays Cole an armed policeman who is feeling a huge amount of guilt over the things he has had to do in the recent past. His murdering a couple in their bed, with the woman being heavily pregnant, plays over and over in guilt ridden flashbacks.
Fairbass gets infected at the very beginning of the film while fighting zombies. He manges to get three injections that will hopefully stave off the virus long enough for him to find the ‘immune’ and also heavily pregnant Angela Mills (Buring).
Unfortunately, the film lacks a little in the believability department when everyone apart from Cole only have to get scratched by one of the infected zombies to be overcome by the virus. Those injections must be really good if not completely pain-free since he regularly doubles over in pain.
The other believability problem is the, unintentionally, funny instant Parkouring ability of almost every zombie. The infected folks can just naturally jump through open car windows and scale buildings like Parkour professionals. And while that is actually quite funny it speaks more of a limited stunt team who are using the same few stuntmen over and over.
The film is entertaining despite it’s similarity to many other apocalyptic zombie films already on the market. Craig Fairbrass alone is worth the price of a DVD rental to watch this film.
Well that and seeing Sean Pertwee, sporting a huge moustache, run across a dock and steal the river police’s powerboat and speed off into the distance.
I don’t know if he was escaping the approaching zombies or trying to get the hell out of the film.
A rating of one leisurely bag of popcorn, nothing special but still entertaining.
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