and parkour mixed together. Does that sound like crazy talk? That’s
because it is. But sometimes crazy ideas can work. The creators of
‘Devil’s Playground,’ a post-apocalyptic survival romp set in a
near-future London, certainly believe so. After watching what they’ve
come up with, I’m inclined to agree.
all, let’s clarify my opening statement. These aren’t zombies per se, in
the traditional “They’re coming to get you, Barbara” sense- think more
towards the red-eyed twitchy post-humans from 28 days later and you’re
on the right track. And like the villains from Danny Boyle’s horror
opus, they’re simply referred to as ‘the infected.’ Their motivation is
less about feeding and more about hunting the surviving humans to cause
as much pain and bloodshed as possible. A nice twist on the genre is
that the main character is basically the slow, lumbering one, while the
zombies themselves are suped-up ninja maniacs.
responsible for unleashing this evil on London are the head honchos of
the Newgen corporation. The aim was to stage a clinical trial for a new
drug, which makes a person stronger, more lithe and agile (hence the
parkour moves). But things (of course) go pear-shaped when those
involved in the trial start getting sick and attacking normal people,
infecting the innocent through bite wounds.
woman named Angela (MyAnna Buring) is still on the loose and suffering
no ill side-effects from the trial. It’s the job of Newgen security
chief Cole (Craig Fairbrass) to track her down and find out why she’s so
special. Once Angela and Cole meet another group of stragglers, each
with their own goals and motivations, they come up with a simple plan-
to get to Angela’s brother, who has a helicopter on standby, and get out
of town for good.
Devil’s playground is a horror movie at heart, you’ll be disappointed if
you go into it expecting to be frightened. The only genuine scare comes
right at the beginning, when the first ‘infected’ wakes up and inflicts
havoc on his creators.
film is good at creating a strong sense of foreboding, helped by a
creepy musical score and some great sound effects. The zombie make-up
and effects are also very well done.
is lacking a bit of polish in some areas: in one scene, a police chief
stands in frame, waiting for his cue to come storming in and deliver his
tirade. And towards the end, a character walks into a shipping
container, which has been set up as an office, and pulls out a chainsaw.
most part, the movie does an admirable job at hiding its lack of budget
with some clever editing and enjoyable action. The scenes of empty
London streets are effective, if not as expansive as those in 28 days
the real enjoyment comes from observing the conflict between the
different survivors. Especially interesting is Cole and Joe’s moral
tug-of-war over Angela.
and Zombies- it’s a marriage made in hell that could have ended in
blood-stained divorce. But instead of being a mess, Devil’s Playground
makes the best of what it has to deliver a satisfying experience. If
you’re planning on having a zombie movie marathon, this would be perfect
as a curtain raiser.