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Monday, February 17, 2020

Danny’s Doomsday (2014)

Every once in a while I find a movie on accident that blows me away and this gem from Denmark is one of those. We are introduced to Danny, a high school student that is a bit of a nerd. He likes science, does homework for the cool kids, and avoids conflict. This includes helping out his younger brother who keeps getting bullied. This fact becomes important later in the movie. The other thing that is made clear early on is that climate change has been causing havoc with a heat wave that just won’t quit. This leads to some rather unpleasant sea creatures coming ashore and chowing down on the locals.

While the monsters are important and drive the survival plotlines of the story there is a lot more going on here than just a creature feature. Danny and his younger brother William get trapped in their basement after their father is killed by one of the creatures. Their mother had headed out to the store, so they aren’t sure she is still alive, which means it is just the two of them. When a stranger shows up and a conflict between William and the newly arrived man things become difficult as yet again Danny fails to stick up for his brother. Later when they find that William has left to go in search of their mother Danny is so guilty that he has to overcome his fear and find his brother.

Being afraid and overcoming it is a central point to the movie and gives the movie a depth that you don’t normally find in a monster movie. I found myself way more interested in the characters, especially Danny, than I normally would have been while watching a movie like this. The writing is superb and goes to show the old adage that even in a horror movie good characters and an interesting story arc is still key. I also found the cast to be very likable as the young actors do a great job in their roles. Between the writing and the acting I was sucked right into the proceedings and was rooting for them. When a horror movie can make me care like that it has exceeded my expectations.

The cast does a great job!
Not to gloss over the monsters. The movie does a great job of keeping them out of sight with just a glimpse now and then of what is prowling around outside. The occasional claw or tail is about all you see for most of the runtime. When we do get to see the rest, it is done with CGI, but this is pretty good work. The creatures look alien enough while also feeling like they could come from the ocean. Basically, aquatic predators that have figured out how to walk on land and breath air, while still looking vaguely fishlike. As much as I like the creature design, I was a little disappointed with the kills. A few people do die in the movie, but all of it happens off screen. In fact, none of the main cast meet a grisly end. I kept waiting for that part of the action to ramp up, but it never does. I consider this a minor complaint given the tone of the movie. It doesn’t feel like it was ever meant to be a blood bath.

I really liked this one and recommend it. I caught it on Amazon Prime, but I’m sure that there are other places to find it. Danny’s Doomsday is well worth the effort of tracking down a copy and ninety minutes of your day.

© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

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