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Film / Doomsday

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"They started this fire. They can burn in it!"
Dr. Marcus Kane

Doomsday is a gleefully derivative post-apocalyptic sci-fi action movie, written and directed by Neil Marshall (director of Dog Soldiers and The Descent) released in 2008.

In the present day, after an outbreak of deadly killer face-rot in Glasgow, Scotland as a whole is walled off and the general population left to... well... rot. The rest of the world thinks this is going a little too far, and respond by turning their backs on Britain as whole. On the last helicopter out of Scotland is a little girl who's just taken a bullet to the face, given into the custody of soldiers by her desperate mother...

Fast forward to 27 years later, and that little girl has grown up to be Major Eden Sinclair, eyepatch-wearing badass cop. Which is fortunate, because the Reaper Virus has arrived in London, and the corrupt government is ready to send a team of soldiers north of the border in the hope of finding a cure. Eden has 46 hours to get to Glasgow, find the man who was working on a cure before the wall went up, and save the day.

Too bad the surviving population of Scotland are not feeling particularly fond of the nation that abandoned them...

This film provides examples of:

  • 1-Dimensional Thinking: While being chased by an entire bus full of cannibals, Sterling and Norton run in a straight path, never considering simply jumping over or sliding under a rail fence separating two roadways, which would at least make it difficult for the bus to follow them.
  • Abusive Parents: Marcus Kane has Cally, his own daughter, bound and branded with a hot iron upon her return to him.
  • Action Girl: Eden Sinclair. Kick-boxing, sharp-shooting, one-eyed badass.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • As Talbot is carried away by the cannibals, you can hear "sausages", a nod to something Sean Pertwee said in Dog Soldiers.
    • Miller says "I'm gonna fucking have you" as he fights the cannibals, which Chris Robson said before fighting a werewolf in Dog Soldiers.
  • Advertised Extra: You would think from poster alone Viper would play some bigger role in the plot or just show up more. She's in two scenes and has single line of bit dialogue before being effortlessly taken out by Eden. Her corpse has the same amount of screen-time.
  • Alas, Poor Yorick: Done by Sol, who reattaches Viper's head to her corpse and sits her in the passenger seat.
  • The Alleged Car: The Bentley, which by the end of the story has been through enough damage there is not a single non-bent or scratched surface on it. On the other hand, it's still running beautifully.
  • Always Save the Girl: This attitude got Chandler killed in rather spectacularly stupid fashion. On the other hand, Sterling does leave with Cally.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 0: Regional Catastrophe
  • Apocalyptic Log: Kane's log, detailing his frantic attempts to survive in a barricaded hospital as civilization outside crumbles and burns.
  • The Apunkalypse: After The Plague, Scotland's walled off and the survivors rapidly revert to their punkish tribal roots.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Very brief, but still counts: right before being decapitated, Viper loses her hand to Eden's blade.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: Sinclair's team enter virus-infected Scotland through the rebuilt Hadrian Wall in a pair of sleek-looking APCs said to be the last of their types.
  • Ax-Crazy: Sol. First he beats you up for not talking to him, then he beats you up for talking to him... He gets even worse in the finale, where he spends most of the time screaming in fury.
  • Bad Boss: Sol. He punches and knocks out cold one of his own men after Eden and the remaining members of the group manage to escape via the train. Not as punishment for failure; just to vent some frustration.
  • Bathing Beauty: An unnamed blonde chick in a bathtub that has a shotgun.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Eden Sinclair gets punched in the face multiple times and Sol even bites her ear to draw blood, but no major bruises show up, there are no injuries that detract from her beauty, and her hair is never more than attractively unkempt.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: After being quarantined and realizing his fate is sealed, Prime Minister Harris shoots himself in the head.
  • Black Comedy: During the final showdown, a grieving Sol has had Viper's head reattached to her corpse and has her sitting in the passenger seat of his car. Said head later gets accidentally shot with an arrow by one of his mooks. Then, when Sol exits his still-moving car to have a shot at killing Sinclair, the vehicle crashes... and Viper's head falls off.
    • That poor rabbit that gets gibbed by a sentry machine gun.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Subverted — Sergeant Norton is the last to die from the entire group.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Goes a lot faster if you remember to bring along a very large axe. Whack!
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: A peculiar version involving a 30-year old car and mobile phone being broken out of storage and used to great effect. Meanwhile, the castle occupied by Kane was a museum, with all the pieces now being used for day-to-day life.
  • Call-Back: "If you're hungry, try a piece of your friend."
  • Camera Abuse: The lens is covered in blood and grime few times, but the cake is taken by Sol's head hitting it after an explosion.
  • Chainsaw Good: Seen briefly in Sol's cellblocks.
  • Chased by Angry Natives: Occur here, with the natives being Violent Glaswegians.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Sol inflicts some nasty, prolonged beatings upon Eden after capturing her. Later, Kane has Cally tied up and branded with a hot iron for her perceived betrayal of him.
  • Cool Car: Bentley Continental GT Speed. Even more cool because the stunt that it pulls at the end of its chase sequence (which is ramming right through a bus) was done for real and the car didn't even had a scratch afterwards.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: In the comment track, Neil Marshal admits that the whole film's plot was an attempt at justifying what he considers the main shot: a futuristic soldier facing off against a medieval knight.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Eden's idea of escaping from overwhelming cannibals involves getting everyone inside the unoperational elevator, shooting the rope and hoping the foam grenade will allow them to survive impact or at least detonate before they will hit basement. It's even gets lampshaded as such in-story.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Dr. Talbot is graphically cooked alive by the cannibals.
  • Cult of Personality: Apparently it must run in the family, since both Kane and Sol indulge in it, styling themselves respectively as a king and cult/clan leader.
  • Dark Action Girl: Viper. Tattooed machete-wielding cannibal babe.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Eden informs the cannibal tribe that she's their new leader by tossing Sol's severed head at them, quoting his line "If you're hungry, try a piece of your friend"
  • Designated Girl Fight: The moment she's introduced, you know Viper will be fighting Eden. She gets brutally killed in less than 20 seconds, barely being able to keep the pace with Sinclair.
  • Disappeared Dad: We know absolutely nothing about Mr. Sinclair.
  • Dodge by Braking: Done both ways during the final chase
    • Eden suddenly brakes, causing one of the baddies to shoot at Sol.
    • Later, when one of the mooks tries to jump the Bentley, she accelerates, causing him barely to slide and then to hit the ground.
  • Dramatic Irony: “What did you ever lose?” Kane sneers… to the woman who lost an eye and her mother the same night that Kane is referring to. Surprisingly, Eden doesn’t correct him on it.
  • Driven to Suicide: Hatcher, after he's accidentally splashed with blood from a Reaper Virus victim.
  • Dual Wielding: Viper starts her fight with Eden with two machetes. Which is convenient for Eden...
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Blink and you miss it, but Eden fixed the broken side mirror of the Bentley with a copious amount of tape.
  • Dystopia: Britain turned into a totalitarian hell-hole, with ongoing human trafficking.
  • Edible Bludgeon: At one point, Sterling uses a still feathered pheasant to attack one of the cooks in the castle.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: When Eden apparently finished her duel with the executioner, he starts to rise up from the ground. She serves him a quick Offhand Backhand with a hatchet to get him killed for good.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Sol is grief-stricken over Viper's death, and tries to exact revenge on Eden for it during the climax.
  • Evil Chancellor: Chancellor Canaris, who cheerfully plans to allow the Reaper virus to ravage the general populace in order to reduce overpopulation.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Played With. Kane is Sol's father, or so his daughter claims. On the other hand, the cannibals and LARPers live completely separated from each other, but are both hell-bent on making Eden's life harder, without any suggestion that both groups fight.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: To a ridiculous degree, other than the Bentley. There's a Transit van that explodes after hitting a downed motorbike and a caravan that's engulfed in a ball of flame after being hit by a gimp-wielding tricycle. Inexplicably, when the Bentley tears through the bus, the broken halves of the bus burst into flames for no apparent reason as well. On the other hand, the police car that falls from a cliff surprisingly doesn't explode.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Most of characters are not named in story. Meanwhile, the credits tend to give extras really colorful, but very easy to identify, names.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Eden Sinclair, but only some of the time. The rest of the time, she's using a cybernetic eye to replace the one she lost.
  • Eye Scream: The film starts with Eden Sinclair, as a young girl, getting her eye shot out. Later, during the car fight, the now-adult Sinclair starts pushing her attacker's eye in to fight him off.
    • After the opening raid, Sinclair is shown, in detail, re-inserting her cybernetic eye back into its socket.
  • Eye Spy: A cybernetic version is used by Sinclair for covert ops and nailing Canaris for attempted mass murder.
  • Fanservice: The first action sequence features a random nude woman with a shotgun. Then about halfway through the film come the strippers, and for some reason all the punks have this strange aversion to being fully clothed in Scotland. The film almost ends on the camera following Sinclair's butt in tight pants.
  • Faux Action Girl: Viper, who for all her looks and attitude, goes down pretty easy against Eden. Justified, as Eden is a trained and experienced soldier where as Viper would be unlikely to have received any combat training worth mentioning and lets her fellow cannibals do the fighting.
  • Forbidden Zone: Scotland.
  • Forceful Kiss: Sol forces a kiss on Eden. She bites him in response.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the underground bunker, just as one of the characters says "What were they keeping in here, the Lost Ark?", the camera shows a momentary flash of a wooden crate with a stencil that says "TOP SECRET — ARMY INTEL 9906753 — DO NOT OPEN", last seen in the closing shot of Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The woman in the bathtub opens fire while naked.
  • Gasoline Lasts Forever: Everything regarding the Bentley still being in perfect working order even after being in a container in a cave for a few decades is Ragnarök Proofing Artistic License, including the heroes filling up the gas tank with gasoline that just happened to be in the same cave for the same amount of time.
  • Genre Shift: The film is advertised as a serious "after the plague" story kind of in the same vein as 28 Days Later, and plays it straight for about a half hour. Then we're off to over the top Mad Max land with an overnight in Live-Action Role-Play castle.
    • Subverted, in that it does return to the earlier plot. There are scenes of the Reaper Virus infecting London and riots going on. An infectee gets Hatcher contaminated, hence the latter's suicide.
  • Genre Throwback: Marshall basically made this film to show off his love for dystopian science fiction movies from The '80s.
  • Gorn: It's a Neil Marshall film after all.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: After Talbot is cooked alive by the cannibals, there are several close-ups of his cooked flesh being sliced into.
  • Gun Accessories: Scopes, laser sights, suppressors, tactical lights... Goes a bit overboard with Norton's Vektor, as it carries two tactical lights.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: One of the soldiers on board one of the last choppers leaving Scotland decided to stay, making room for young Eden and protecting the take-off of the machine from the infected running toward it.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Refreshingly averted, especially given the nature of the film. All the assault rifles are outfitted with suppressors, but they only slightly muffle the sound and reduce flash.
  • Homage: To Mad Max, The Warriors and Escape from New York.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Sergeant Norton is as capable as Eden in combat. If not more. He single-handedly escaped from captivity, gained the weapons back, fought his way through half of a castle full of enemies with a hatchet, and apparently knows a thing or two about electronics.
  • I Choose to Stay: Eden decides to stay in Scotland and is strongly implied to become the new leader of the cannibal gang.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The British government, sealing off Scotland when an extremely lethal virus with no cure or possible vaccine and leaving the entire population to die. They have no trouble with likewise sealing off a portion of London where the disease was discovered and leaving millions to die there as well.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Sol's gang. Being Glaswegians, they deep-fat fry their victims first.
  • The Immune: Eden and her team were sent into Scotland in search of a cure, believing that the immune survivors are proof the scientists abandoned north of the wall found one. Turns out that some Scots were naturally immune; among them the head researcher Marcus Kane and his children. However, a cure can be synthesized from their blood, resulting in the mad run to deliver Cally south in time to save Britain.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: They are a prerequisite to pull off the villainous crossbow shot required to kill Read. It involves a moving vehicle, home-made crossbow and a relatively small smashed window. Somehow the bolt ends up directly in her neck.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Subverted. When Sol starts to beat and threaten Sinclair, she just passively takes it all. He only manages to get a reaction from her after mentioning Kane.
  • Klingon Promotion: The cannibal tribe apparently promotes Eden to be their new chief after she brings them Sol's head.
  • The Lancer: Sergeant Norton.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Seriously. Just about the only person who doesn't explode in a shower of blood when they die is Norton.
  • Mad Scientist: Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Marcus Kane. But then, with a name like Kane, what do you expect? Also his son Sol, which is presumably short for Solomon Kane.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Cally.
  • Made of Explodium: Eden drives a Bentley clean through a bus. Which explodes. And then Sol's severed head flies out of the explosion and hits the camera.
  • Made of Iron: Sol takes just silly amount of punishment, including scraping half of his body over asphalt road during a hot pursuit. It takes explosion to make a final end of him.
  • Majorly Awesome: Major Eden Sinclair.
  • Missing Mom: After the initial scene, Mrs. Sinclair disappears. For good — while the film toys for a while with the possibility of Eden meeting her mom as an adult, it never happens.
  • Moe Greene Special: Young Eden. This is how and why she has an eyepatch and a cybernetic eye.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailer lets on that this is an after-the-plague serious film. It only takes a half an hour of watching the film when you can check off every scene you saw in the trailer and things just get downright silly.
    • You'd be forgiven for thinking this a zombie film, since the infected are portrayed in that manner. Not only are they more of a background event, most infected are actually just dropping dead instead of shambling around for the duration.
    • See above for a subversion.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Lots, but the ultimate example is probably the cannibal punk Glaswegian strippers. Pole dancing to "Good Thing".
  • No Ending: The film ends on a weird note with very little being resolved. The UK is still tearing itself apart over the Reaper Virus, and the only real conclusion to that storyline is that Canaris is going to pay for his crimes. Kane and the medieval settlement aren't actually dealt with, and the only real resolution is that Sinclair is now the leader of the Marauders, but who knows what that means for the future since there's no sequel or followup.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Averted by Sol, who can't seem to let his go.
  • No Name Given: A lot of characters remains nameless in-story. This even includes someone as iconic as Viper — her name comes from the end credits.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Of a sort. It's pretty easy to be top of the proverbial food chain (figuratively and literally) when you're the biggest, toughest guys around, but as Viper and Telamon find out, they're only tougher than the people next to them. Eden, unarmed both times and wearing no protection better than a tank top, manages to kill both of them while they flail their weapons wildly in her direction. Tough as they may be, raw force can't match up to military training.
  • Off with His Head!: Eden takes out Viper this way. Later, Sol loses his head during the final showdown.
  • One-Man Army: Both Sinclair and Norton come very close to this trope. Special mention should be given how they respectively handle the elaborate car chase and breaking out from the castle dungeons.
  • Parental Substitute: Bill Nelson plays this role to Eden, being basically her entire family right now. It's never made clear how much this applies on a personal level, and how much it's purely professional.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Brief, but still. The auxiliary power only kicks in after Norton punches the console.
  • The Plague: The Reaper Virus.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: In the Car Chase at the end.
    Sterling: You like pain?
    Gimp: Yeeeah!
  • Precision F-Strike: Un-bloody-believable!
  • Quarantine with Extreme Prejudice: Britain sealed off Scotland to prevent the Reaper Virus from spreading by rebuilding the Hadrian Wall and shooting anything and anybody who approached it. At first it was with snipers, but by the time the plot picks up the government has switched to automated machine guns. It's also mentioned that Britain placed mines on the surrounding seas and set a no-fly zone.
  • The Quiet One: Viper has exactly one line in this entire movie: "This one's for Sol." (Spoken right before one of the cannibals punches out Eden.)
  • Rule of Cool: This film has, among other things, a cyber-eyed badass, foam grenades, "Good Thing", cannibal BBQ, medieval castle renovated and put back into good working order in the future, random Bentley having a car chase with punk-built mutant cars and then the punks climb on the Bentley and fight while everyone's still driving, Made of Explodium, nude chick with shotgun, exploding bunny, a random gimp (and a Gimpmobile), a severed head crashing into the camera, and the cyber-eyed badass going back to Glasgow and becoming the cannibal punk's leader by tossing their former leader's aforementioned severed head in front of them and telling them "If you're hungry, try a piece of your friend". And just about everything else in between those moments.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Joshua is introduced as Cally's only ally and the one who facilitates getting them to safety, implying he'll be another heavy on the team. He suddenly gets killed to show that Kane's territory is no safer than Sol's.
  • Sanity Slippage: Marcus Kane underwent this, resulting in him becoming the insane tyrant he is.
  • Scavenger World: Played with. The walled-off Scotland looks like something from a Mad Max sequel with no or few gunpowder weapons in use, very limited electricity and really ramshackle cars kitbashed together from old wrecks; the rest of Britain still bears a passing resemblance to what it's like today but seems to be turning slowly into this, as we see its authorities treat tanks as Lost Technology, which is justified as Britain has no trade with the rest of the world due to sealing Scotland off to die of the plague.
  • Schizo Tech:
    • Knights in armour, longbows, steam trains, Mad Max-inspired death machines, APCs, video camera glass eyes, sword fights...
    • One group of survivors intentionally threw out all modern tech, and the other group doesn't have the means to reproduce the now-broken technology.
    • According to the director, this was the inspiration for the movie. He got a picture in his head of a medieval knight attacking a futuristic agent with gun and tried to figure out how to work that scene into a movie.
  • Sentry Gun: After a few years, these have replaced snipers stationed on the wall, and shoot at anything moving within their range.
  • Shield Bash: Just as she's gaining upper hand in her duel, Eden suddenly catches a shield with her face from the executioner.
  • Shout-Out: Enough to earn their own page
  • Shovel Strike: To knock out one of the motorbike mooks.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Sol and Cally.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: While his role is still rather brief, at first it appears all Malcolm McDowell is going to do is a narration. Then he shows up in person as Kane.
  • The Social Darwinist: Kane comes off as one, with his firm belief in survival of the fittest.
  • Soft Glass: Before they leave for Scotland, they are told how tough and state of the art their armored vehicle is. Once they're in Scotland, it doesn't take very long for a punk to break through the windshield as if it's a car window. Low bidder?
  • Sole Surviving Scientist:
    • Kane is the only virologist left in Scotland.
    • Sterling turns into one after Talbot gets roasted into a dinner for angry cannibals.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The cannibal tribe has this as part of their general aesthetic.
  • Taking You with Me: After getting his throat sliced, Chandler rather casually just throws a grenade between the legs of his killer
  • Tired of Running: Verbatim by Sinclair, after being unable to escape a chase from truly persistent raiders.
    Eden:I'm tired of running from these bastards.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Sol is eventually killed by dragging him for a while over an asphalt road, then powering through an exploding and burning bus — he somehow explodes in the process and his head comes flying at the camera.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Notable, since used toward a male.
    Sterling: Get off of her, you bitch!
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Eden, unarmed and unarmoured, is shoved into an arena and finds herself facing a heavily armed seven-foot monster in full plate armour. Her reaction? A quiet, deadpan, "bollocks."
  • This Is Unforgivable!: The rest of the world clearly thought that the British government sealing the entire population of Scotland behind a massive wall to die horribly was this trope, as post-quarantine Britain has become a pariah state.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Zig-Zagged. On one hand, Sinclair missed one of the punks in Glasgow when throwing the sword she just used to behead Viper. On the other hand, it still managed to lodge itself into the wooden wall after spinning few times.
  • Too Dumb to Live: One of the soldiers, while sitting inside his heavily armored APC, sees a female "survivor" outside and leaves to go rescue her, despite Eden warning him several times not to. The survivor turns out to be a hostile punk, who promptly sneaks behind him and slits his throat when he isn't looking.
  • Train Escape: The surviving soldiers escape from Glasgow via a steam train operated by Cally, while having the local cannibals right on their tails.
  • Triage Tyrant: Discussed as a justification to commit a big Kick the Dog act regarding the people infected with the Reaper virus:
    Michael Canaris: It's basic combat triage. Leave the dying to die.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Sinclair's team just has her and Read as the only females. Read is killed, and Cally then joins the team to again keep it to two girls.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Sol and Viper.
  • Violent Glaswegian: An entire army of them.
  • Waif-Fu: While Rhona Mitra is not exactly a waif, she pummels her way through a lot of much larger opponents throughout the film, including a seven-foot killer in full plate armour. Though it's considerably more realistically used than the norm: Mitra's character is a Fragile Speedster who dodges the attacks of bigger opponents, and uses weapons to even the score.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Sol.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Apparently, killing Sol and bringing his head back is enough to get established as the new clan leader.