Science fiction and fantasy
I Am Legend
directed by Francis Lawrence
Fortunately for Dr Neville, the infected cannot bear sunlight. This allows him a brief respite during the day when he can hunt for food with the help of his dog, or try to make contact with other survivors. So far none have shown up, but Neville isn't about to give up hope. As the last uninfected man in New York, and for all he knows the last in the whole of the civilised world, he feels very lonely. With only his dog for company, the strain of living alone without much prospect of human contact is starting to show.
Yet the doctor is very disciplined and resourceful, and he could be mankind's best hope for survival.
I Am Legend owes something to other zombie films such as 28 Days Later and to a lesser extent even Resident Evil, and only a little to Richard Matheson's vampire novel, the book that this film is supposedly based on. The horror aspect is played up, with hordes of zombies that rampage in the hours of darkness, creatures who are too far gone to show compassion but still intelligent enough to be a threat.
There are some scary moments, and the special effects are convincing, although those zombies may seem familiar. Modern CGI monsters tend to have a certain look about them, and that also applies to the creatures in this film.
The plot of I Am Legend is pretty tense and well-paced, and since this is not a faithful adaptation of the book it's not too derivative. For one thing, the film doesn't start out with enough characters for this to become another who-will-die-next guessing game. However, the tone of this short movie is largely visceral. It aims to shock rather than to provoke thought, and this is where it goes astray. Will Smith puts in a solid performance as Dr Neville, but the film just doesn't have the same balance of brains and brawn as his character does.
If you like this, try:The Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Vampires threaten the future of the human race in this sequel to The Strain.
Infestation by Edward Evers-Swindell
After a virus forces most of humanity underground, a group of people return to the surface to find out what has happened to a team who went up and failed to report back.
Men In Black by Barry Sonnenfeld
Aliens live amongst us, and a young NYPD officer is given a new job keeping them in check.
Review © Ros Jackson
More about Francis Lawrence