‘Dead Space: Aftermath’, The Second Full-Length Animation, Reviewed by Guest Blogger, Jonathon Wilson

Dead Space: Aftermath

 Review Director: Mike Disa

 Released: January 25, 2011

 Running Time: 90 minutes

Usually in horror movies, or at the very least movies with strong themes of persistent danger and the ultimate goal of survival, one of the most entertaining aspects is trying to figure out who’s going to survive until the end. Dead Space: Aftermath, the second full-length animated movie in the ever-popular Dead Space universe, throws us a curveball right from the start by opening with the survivors of its disaster being rescued.

As marines board the deserted, carnage-strewn corridors of the USG O’Bannon, we’re introduced to the four mismatched individuals who will function as our principle characters: Nicholas Kuttner (Christopher Judge), head of security; Alejandro Borgas (Ricardo Chavira), an engineer; Isabella Cho (Gwendoline Yeo), a doctor; and Nolan Stross (Curt Cornelius), the ship’s chief science officer.

The group is quickly incapacitated and transported to the Marine battleship Braxus, which is on its way to the Sprawl – a huge space station built on Titan (one of the moons of Saturn) and also the setting for the recent Dead Space 2 videogame. It quickly becomes apparent that all is not what it seems, and a pair or interrogators are brought in to decipher the happenings aboard the O’Bannon before the Braxus reaches the Sprawl.

The majority of Aftermath takes place in the past, as each of the four main characters tell their story through flashback sequences. As a framing device this is hardly original, but here it works surprising well, allowing us to see radically different perspectives on the same event, while we witness first-hand the trauma these individuals have suffered and how their psyches have been affected. While the guy who constantly cries out for his dead daughter is a little bit of a cliché, in general I liked the four main characters and was interested to learn more about themselves and their stories.

Unlike Downfall, the first Dead Space movie experience, Aftermath doesn’t rely on a single, comic book-style of art and animation. Rather, the portions set aboard the Braxus are presented in an (admittedly crude) CG rendering, while each individual flashback plays out in a different artistic style. I was worried this format may come across as somewhat schizophrenic, but it actually worked out as one of the stronger elements of the film, providing a range of interesting aesthetics while adding a strong sense of separation between each character’s version of events.

While we’re comparing Aftermath to its predecessor, it’s also worth mentioning how the pacing is wildly different. In Downfall, the basic premise was introduced and vaguely explained in the first ten minutes, leaving the remaining hour to show the massacre aboard the Ishimura in as much detail as possible. Here, we have a much healthier balance of exposition and action, with the former being presented in a reasonably dynamic and interesting way, and the latter just as vivid and brutal, if not more so, than it was before. Once again, the most impressive element on display here is the art and visual design, which juxtaposes the grim, industrial feel of the O’Bannon with the almost surgically pristine, white-walled corridors of the Braxus. The movie looks great throughout, with the weakest elements (the off-key CG) being the least prominent.

I said in my review of Dead Space: Downfall that for fans of the videogames that movie was a must see, and that goes for Aftermath and then some. Overall, it’s a vast improvement over its feature-length predecessor and a credit to the Dead Space universe. Highly recommended.

By guest blogger, Jonathon Wilson:


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