Review: ‘Devil’s Playground’

A virus turns Londoners into freaks in the unoriginal but watchable "Devil's Playground" from helmer Mark McQueen.

When a virus turns the population of London into flesh-eating freaks, a few survivors struggle to escape to safety in the deeply unoriginal but watchable horror pic “Devil’s Playground.” Debut helmer Mark McQueen has almost nothing up his ragged, blood-soaked sleeve that hasn’t been seen in a slew of recent zombie movies (especially “28 Days Later,” with its fast-moving semi-dead). However, presence of regular schlock-horror thesp Danny Dyer (“Severance”) should ensure a few happy rides on the ancillary merry-go-round at least.

When 29,999 trial subjects of a new performance-enhancing drug start turning into ravenous mutants, Cole (Craig Fairbrass), who works for the company responsible, goes in search of Angela (MyAnna Buring), the only trial subject who hasn’t been zombified. Angela is the estranged g.f. of a policeman (Dyer) who’s been in trouble for accidentally shooting an armed suspect. The three of them band together with assorted predictably doomed others to get the hell out of Dodge. Risible dialogue and wooden thesping are just the start of the pic’s problems, compounded by a disappointing lack of diversity among zombie extras.

Devil's Playground

U.K.

Production

A Black & Blue Films, HMR Films production, in association with Widescreen. (International sales: Intandem Films, London.) Produced by Freddie Hutton-Mills, Bart Ruspoli, Jason Shepherd, Jonathan Sothcott. Directed by Mark McQueen. Screenplay, Bart Ruspoli.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Jason Shepherd; editor, Robert Hall; music, James Edward Barker; production designer, Sophie Wyatt, art director, Lee Whiteman; costume designer, Millie Sloan. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 13, 2010. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Danny Dyer, Craig Fairbrass, MyAnna Buring, Colin Salmon, Shane Taylor, Jaime Murray, Lisa McAllister, Jack Healy, Craig Conway, Del Henney.

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