I found a little treasure in the infamous $5 bin: Devil’s Playground, a treat from our neighbors across the pond!
Newgen, a pharmaceutical company, has developed a drug meant to be a performance enhancer that you shoot into your veins instead of pour down your gullet. Everything goes smoothly for two months, but then the folks from the trial start vomiting like Linda Blair and having multiple organ failure; somehow the drug has given them a virus. This causes the company head to flip out, and round up all the guinea pigs. They find all except one, Angela Mills, who apparently is exhibiting none of the symptoms. They send their mercenary, Cole to find her, but alas, she has vacated her apartment and left no forwarding address.
Back at the lab, things are going to hell in a hand-basket. Wilhelm screams abound as trialists thrash around on their hospital beds, and we see the original test subject popping veins all over like a bodybuilder. He’s getting worse, because they stopped giving him the viral suppressant that was keeping him from turning into a zombie. Boy howdy, does he turn! He jumps off that table and starts chomping on scientists, leaping around the room like a cirque du soleil acrobat in boxer briefs. Cole dispatches him with extreme prejudice, but not before getting bitten. He comes to, and the doctor gives him three doses of the viral suppressant juice, which gives him about 18 hours to find Angela and bring her back. In the meantime, we enter the only part of this movie I would have scissored out; we meet Joe, an ex-cop who was jailed for shooting a 14 year old who was high on crack during an altercation. Heís just made bail, and is trying to get back to Angela via family friend Steve. During all this, Angela is making plans to get out of the city and to her brother, Matt, who has a chopper to escape the outbreak.
London has gone berserk; the zombie folk running and doing parkour jumps all over the place. Every chase scene looked like an extreme sports video; runners, jumpers, flippers, leapers Hoo, boy! But do I love a fast moving zombie sometimes! Blood is always flying, teeth always snapping, it’s awesome. Our little group of survivors is chased all the way to Steve’s garage, and they’re met by an American banker and his British partner who have run from the subway where they got zombushed.
Cole finds them and saves them from a group of zeds that followed. Now starts the us against them portion of the story; the bank couple are scared that they’ll get left behind for a zombie midnight snack, so they start wheedling their way into the psyche of Kate, and convince her to lock Angela in the office while they all try to escape. Luckily, Joe is finally good for something and helps her climb out of the window while Cole dispatches the undead scum.
Joe has serious issue with Cole wanting to take Angela to the hospital; she is pregnant, and you don’t need Maury Povich to tell you that it’s his! So, heís basically treating her like a mean dog with a chew toy, and telling her where she’s gonna go and what sheís gonna do. The movie goes on like this for a while; they get chased, Cole rescues them, then they pull weapons on him and tell him Angela’s not going anywhere with them, then Angela says she is, then they get attacked again. It may be repetitive, but it is entertaining.
We then get to meet Matt and his partner Jim; theyíre police who used to work with Joe. They’re making their way to the chopper on an inflatable boat. I’m serious. Jim has been bitten, and has made Matt swear to put him down if he turns. When they arrive, the chopper has been destroyed; looks like the zombies got there first. Luckily, the radio is still working, and Matt receives instructions to meet a ship 10 miles down the Thames because the only safe travel is water; for some reason the ghouls are afraid of it. By this time, Jim has turned, and chases Matt into the ruins.
Back at the ranch, the bankers have locked Steve and Kate out of the fishing shack they ran to, and Steve gets bitten. Cole almost kills them when they confess, and Steve offs himself so he doesnít turn into a monster. Angela makes them all pile into the van, Cole convinces her that she is the only one who can stop this, even though Joe is being a real jerk about the whole thing; I mean, the rest of the human race getting killed off, or your baby-mama giving away a few pints of blood? Which would you choose?
All hell breaks loose as they get to the choppahh Sorry, started channeling Ahnold the barbarian there. Ahem… where were we? Oh yeah! The bankers get left behind because the man got hisself bit and turned into a zombie, and the lady banker tried to kill Angela. Joe gets bitten in the fracas, decides to stay behind with Cole, and Angela ends up in the boat with Matt, on her way to safety and to save the human race.
All-in-all, it is a rollicking ride of a zombie movie. By rollicking, I mean it rides like that tilt-a-whirl that’s held together by duct tape and carny spit: You just kind of hang on for dear life and look forward to the end! It is an hour and a half long rip-off homage to 28 Days Later, Night of the Living Dead, and Dawn of the Dead.
Blood: GALLONS. Lots of good guts and gore flowing across your screen.
Breasts: No jahoobies were released during the filming of this movie.
Beasts: Too many to count, including the ones that weren’t zombies!
Gratuitous Inflatable raft, jealous dude, heads explode, acrobatic zombies, terrible accents.
Watch the trailer for “Devil’s Playground”