Premiered at last years Gorezone festival and now out on DVD and Blu-Ray Devil’s Playground is a pure slice of entertaining British zombie movie mayhem very much drinking from the same squirting vein as 28 Days Later and the like.
Following the decimation of the United Kingdom after a chemical company unleash a performance-enhancing drug gone wrong on the British population with zombitastic results the general public are transformed into flesh hungry, super strong, free running killing machines and London becomes a war zone where the unlucky few still alive must fight there way out in an attempt to escape.
One of those unlucky to be still alive is Angela Mills (The Descent‘s MyAnna Buring) who along with her best friend starts out on the long journey to meet up with her brother who has a way for them to escape England and the armageddon all together.
Little does she know however that as she tries to run and hide from the horrible fate that has befallen the world two very different people are searching for her for two very different reasons. The first is her ex-boyfriend Joe (Doghouse‘s Danny Dyer) straight out of jail and desperate to save her and start afresh.
The second is Cole (gore loving geezer Craig Fairbrass) the head of the evil chemical company’s security, who now wracked with regret and responsibility sets out to find Angela believing she is the one person who can provide a cure. Who will find her first and when they do which path will Angela choose?
With a recycled storyline and stylist template taken straight from the de rigueur direction of every other modern day zombie movie, Devil’s Playground at first appears as just another attempt by the British film industry to replicate the success and money making potential of Danny Boyle’s long lasting living dead legacy. But there is more to this movie than first meets the bloodshot eye.
Made on a relatively low budget of 1.2 million by newcomer Mark McQueen (who won “Best Director” at the 2010 British Horror Awards for this very film) it is an action packed violent horror ride of a movie, where every undead execution is executed using excellent effects.
Central to the film’s success is the character of Cole played by true horror fan Fairbrass. He turned down the Brit gangster film Bonded by Blood to do Devil’s Playground as he loved the script so much. His dedication and enjoyment are evident and after taking on vampires in the recent Dead Cert, Fairbrass delivers on the brutality and bloodshed, cracking skulls and punching out zombies with a relish that satisfies and amuses the audiences and keeps the film from flagging.
Buring is also excellent as the emotional focus of the film but sadly Dyer is relatively unchallenged in his role – turning Joe into the cockney caricature we have seen Dyer deliver to us a million times before. The rest of the cast is crammed with recognisable faces including Hustle’s and Dexter’s Jaime Murray, and a scene stealing moustachioed cameo from Sean Pertwee.
There’s no denying the Devil’s Playground‘s unoriginality and ridiculousness. However neither is there any denying its entertainment and enjoyment value. And following from these facts we should all petition McQueen to make his next movie project feature Fairbrass fighting his way through a world war with Werewolves.
Now that would be well worth paying to see.