Blu-Ray Review: Doomsday Book (2012)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Friday, August 30, 2013 0 comments

Doomsday Book is a collection of three short films from South Korea that deal with horror and science fiction.  This is also a collaboration project between two directors: Pil-Sung Yim (Hansel & Gretel (2007)) and Kim Jee-Woon (The Last Stand (2013), A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)).  The three films are: A Brave New World, The Heavenly Creature and Happy Birthday.  Much like how I reviewed "Samurai Horror Tales (2006)" earlier this year (You can read the review here) I'm going to review each feature individually.  So let's not waste any more time with this opening paragraph and get straight into the review (ghost sounds).  (Click "Read More" to see the review).

The alcohol will marinate your brain.  I like my meals to have flavor. 

A Brave New World

Our first tale in this trilogy is about a nerdy scientist that works for the army and is left in charge of the family home for the weekend.  After having a very mundane day he starts getting ready to go out on a date with a very lovely lady.  Sadly he has forgotten to do something and that was to take out the trash.  He goes to grab it and boy is it some foul stuff that will make any person puke if exposed to it.  Something isn't right with this garbage as there is some really bad bacteria brewing in there and by bad I mean really bad.  Turns out the bacteria ends up creating a virus that turns people into zombies when exposed.  We then see a really cool montage of the garbage traveling around and eventually infecting a beef farm.  The cows get slaughtered and the meat gets sent to restaurants with nobody knowing that there will be some grave consequences (get it?) when consumed (double pun combo).

The way this feature highlights a zombie outbreak is pretty interesting as it focuses on the origin of how zombie outbreaks come to be and takes the view from the zombies themselves.  I like this a lot as it has a nice fresh feeling as opposed to the dozens upon dozens of zombie films where it's about a group of survivors right in the middle or end of an zombie invasion.  Not to say that I'm pissing on that classic formula as there are some really great films that use that style of zombie storytelling (like Shawn of the Dead (2004) and Night of the Living Dead (1968) for example) as I'm just saying it's nice to see something different for once.  Not only is this a horror but it is also a black comedy and it is done pretty well with me laughing at all the tragedy that goes on.

The acting can get really overdramatic and a bit goofy although it doesn't get tired but instead adds some charm to it much like you would see in B-grade horror films.  The way it's shot was far from being B-grade as it had some really nice shots in it although the scene where the main guy was at a club is a dangerous scene to watch if you have epilepsy.  Overall this was a fun watch but I do find it weird how this is supposed to be a sci-fi anthology film yet we have a horror in here... but who cares?  This was a very good opening to this anthology film. 

That better be your hand I feel down there.
The Heavenly Creature

Second film in this collection is about a repairman that gets called into a Buddhist temple to examine a robot that claims to be the reincarnation of Buddha himself.  While the Buddhist have accepted this and treat the robot like one of their own, the robot manufacture sees this as a very serious threat due to technology evolving to the point where they are marring people and finding religion all on their own.  The repairman is on the fence as his mind is blown from meeting a robot with such capabilities.  What this film is, is essentially a trail of the robot to see if he gets freedom and to see people for what he is.

Out of all three films this one is the only serious one and it doesn't feel out of place which is a good thing.  This one is a hit or miss due to it being a much slower story that also chooses to use long lines of dialouge over action and will bore all the kids who watch nothing but crappy sitcoms and even more crappy Kardashian shows.  I personally really liked this one because the story was very facsinating and captured my attention throughout the whole film.  This film also gets you thinking to yourself with questions like: Is he really Buddah?  Does he have any plans to take over? Where can I order a hot robot wife?.. Well maybe not that last question.  As much as I liked it I don't have any reason to rewatch it and I feel a bit weird saying that after giving this one quite a bit of praise but there isn't any replay value in this one.

The way this film was shot captured the cold feeling of the future very well and done in the way where it looks like it could actually happen.  I do like how they used a puppet for the robot as it helped make this film feel genuine although if you've seen "I,Robot (2004)" you are most likely going to say "Hey! They ripped off I, Robot!".  Overall this was a pretty good one but it only needs to be watched once.

Save us Aquaman!
Happy Birthday

The third and final part of this anthology has got to be one of the bizarre things I have seen in science fiction since "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (2005 version)" and it's about a meteor heading straight to earth and it's collision will destroy the entire city that it's set to hit.  Hang on a minute?  That doesn't sound very bizarre.  Well... yes that does sound quite mundane but what would you say if this meteor was actually a giant eight-ball that was accidently ordered online due to a little girl stealing Wi-Fi from a passing UFO?  You'd think I'm bonkers but that is actually what this film is about.

Now I know that you are screaming that I'm an utter bastard for spoiling the mystery of where the meteor is coming from but you do learn this fairly early in the feature, the big part of the fun is seeing it all happen.  The other part of the fun is with the main family you'll see due to seeing how they react to all the crazy stuff that's going on.   This is the second black comedy and while it did make me laugh it did feel a little similar to "A Brave New World" but not so much that it makes it the same movie but with a big ball instead of zombies.

Acting was very hysterical and overdramatic which made it very believable and charming.  Camerawork in this one was just as good as the other two films but as for sets?  You will mainly be seeing them stuck in their bomb shelter but that's more than enough for this film.  Overall this was another fun watch in this trilogy of short films and is also a great closing to Doomsday Book as a whole.

Overall we had three great features sewed together into one great anthology.  I recommend grabbing some popcorn and some friends as this film will go well in parties (assuming you have friends that are open to watching subtitled films).  Great viewing indeed.

Title: Doomsday Book
Starring: Yoon Se Ah, Doona Bae, Joon-ho Bong
Directors: Pil-Sung Yim, Kim Jee-Woon
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Drama, Black Comedy, Horror
Running Time: 120 minutes
Distributor: Madman Entertainment/Eastern Eye (
Rating: M15+ (Mature themes, violence, coarse language, sexual refferences)
Price: $34.95
Recommended: Yes


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