I really, really enjoyed the first Dead Space video game. I felt it was challenging (though sometimes a bit too challenging), genuinely creepy and scary, and, most of all, INTENSE. I spent a good portion of the game on the edge of my seat, guiding Isaac through the abandoned space station, worried about what would be around the next corner, or how low my ammo is. It’s a truly exciting video game experience, and I really recommend checking it out if you’re into the survival horror genre.
That being said, the original animated tie-in movie, Dead Space: Downfall was really just a bit meh. The animation was a bit rough, the story kind of generic, and ultimately just felt a bit throwaway. I mean, it gave me a bit more insight into the events of the game (without having to read all the journals and stuff that you pick up during the game), but overall I just didn’t leave the experience feeling overwhelmed. I was just … whelmed. The Dante’s Inferno tie-in animated movie (from the same production company) really actually just kind of dragged for me, despite being a relatively short film. So Dead Space: Aftermath didn’t have a lot going for it…
But damn…this flick impressed the hell out of me.
Dead Space: Aftermath tells what happens to a scientific team on the same planet that (SPOILER) Isaac destroys at the end of the first game. They take a shard of the relic with them (the same relic responsible for all the crazy shit from the first game) and the story, told mostly in flashback, tells what happens to the survivors of the horrors that happen after they take that shard aboard their research ship.
Aftermath won’t win any awards for stellar animation. While the anime-inspired flashback sequences are all pretty well done, the framing sequences, done in CG, look like Playstation 2 cinematic sequences. They’re pretty lame looking. The anime-inspired flashbacks are a step above, but still not movie theater-quality. This is definitely DTV stuff.
Still, where the film excels is in the writing and the voice acting. The film is extremely well-written. Though not entirely original, the characters are all well explored, and the story really bridges the gap from the first and second games effectively, while also standing alone pretty well (you may get more out of it if you’re familiar with the story from the first game though). Not only that, despite the varying art styles from flashback to flashback, the voice acting stays consistently good throughout the entire movie. I wish the animation emotion matched it a little better, but the voice acting is definitely above average.
Though hardcore fans of horror or science fiction may not venture into the animated film arena, Dead Space: Aftermath is definitely an adult film with profanity, gore, and sex. Don’t let the fact that it’s animated scare you away from it. Definitely check it out.