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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 122: Against The Dark

Against The Dark
You have the right to remain dead

Steven Seagal. The greatest martial artist, action star, lawman, and thespian of our or any time. OK, that's a stretch, but I am endlessly entertained by him, for good or bad. Believe it or not, Seagal still makes a lot of movies, almost all direct-to-DVD and direct-to-Spike TV. While the little details may change, all of the movies involve Steven Seagal and ass-kicking. You can keep your Chuck Norrises and your Jean-Claude Van Dammmes. This man is a killing machine wrapped in a leather trench coat that he never takes off. Lucky for us, he decided to delve into the world of horror with Against The Dark. (Side note: You ever notice how a lot of his movies are explanations of what his character is? Like "Steven Seagal is...Under Siege". "Steven Seagal is...Half Past Dead". Weird, right?)

Against The Dark is a 2009 horror/action movie starring the one, the only, Steven Seagal (Under Siege, Above The Law) as the vigilante creature hunter Tao. An epidemic has swept across the planet, turning most of the population into blood thirsty cannibalistic zombies. Saying blood-thirsty and calling them cannibals isn't a mistake because these “zombies” drink blood and eat flesh. They are also afraid of the light, so I guess they're more like vampire zombies. Survivors Charlotte (Jenna Harrison, My Brother Tom, 12 Days of Terror) and Morgan (Danny Midwinter, From Hell, Dead Cert) has been hiding in an abandoned hospital when they run into another group of survivors, including a young girl named Charlie. They have run out of food and the hospital's generators are going to fail soon. They decide to head over to the other side of the hospital to find food and get to the security doors. The have to fight their way through the vampire-zombie hordes while Tao, Tagart (Tanoai Reed, Doom, Iron Man 2) and the rest of the hunters make their way to the group. Meanwhile, Lt. Waters (Keith David, Pitch Black, Barbershop) has been given the order to “cleanse” the area that the survivors are in. The group is slowly killed off and one of them is kidnapped by a doctor still in the hospital. The doctor reveals that the creatures have evolved and are not mindless monsters. He plans to feed him to his mutated daughter, but Tao saves the day. Will Tao be able to get the group out of the hospital before the army blows them up?

You don't have to be in shape to shoot a gun

Without going any further, I have to address the creatures in this movie. It's never really established what they are other than mutants. They look like corpses, they eat flesh, and they were turned via an epidemic. Sounds like a zombie, right? That's not the case because we also see them drinking blood, they're afraid of the sunlight, oh and they talk. Yeah, they fucking talk. Not a lot, just a few scenes. If that's the case, why were they not talking the rest of the movie? I guess it's fine because they're technically mutants so really anything goes, but for viewing purposes, it's incredibly stupid. Why not just make it a zombie movie? You're not improving the story by throwing in little bits of other monsters.

Despite being a “Steven Seagal” movie, he's not in it that much. Or perhaps he's not in it enough for my liking. If I'm watching a Seagal movie, I want him in it for at least 95% of the time for his “great” one-liners and lazy action moves. More focus is given to the group making their way through the hospital. The entire scene with the doctor kidnapping someone came out of nowhere and made less than no sense. It's completely random and doesn't really progress much of the movie. The creatures evolve and can talk, so what? It feels like a lot of the scenes throughout the movie were just half-baked ideas that just got thrown into the blender and puked out onto the film. Thankfully there is a good amount of action with some nice violence and blood. At least they got that right.

He's practically poured into that over-sized trench coat

Against The Dark is Steven Seagal's first horror movie. He is actually fine in it, though I was wanting to see him more. The story has lots of holes (wouldn't the mutants starve pretty quickly since the only a small percent of humans still exist?) and is a mish-mash of horror genres and cliches. There is plenty of violence and blood to keep you entertained, but not enough to distract you from the terribleness. I'd definitely like to see more Steven Seagal in horror movies (or romance or comedy), but this one was just too bad even for Seagal to save.


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