Directed by Michael Su and written by Adrian Milnes, a group of soldiers are ordered to hold a bridge during a zombie outbreak, but what lives underneath the bridge, proves to be even more deadly. Starring: Kate Watson, Robert LaSardo, Michael Paré, Sarah French, William ‘Bill’ Connor, BJ Mezek, Kyosuke Mukai and Dee Cutrone.
Having the military come in to deal with an outbreak of a viral disease is a pretty classic plot point of horror cinema, and for good reason because mayhem and violence can make for good viewing. Then throwing an extra wrench into the works for them with a monster, keeps things interesting. However, unfortunately the way that Bridge of the Doomed plays out doesn’t capitalise on its potential. It lingers somewhere in the middle ground, it doesn’t go full on with the violence and it doesn’t intensify the threat. Which is a key issue here, without that inescapable feeling of impending death and destruction, it leaves the story feeling flat.
It’s an issue which then extends to the direction, it struggles to build suspense or tension. The palette is weak, it’s very everyday and the movement throughout fails to embrace the action. With so much fear and death, you’d be hoping for a grittier visual, something to bring through the risk that lies ahead. Its progression feels sporadic, it’s a bit dialogue heavy so the moments of threat come through at random intervals and don’t entirely feel connected. Its tone is undeniably targeting a male audience, which is not a surprise within these genres but also makes it less accessible.
One of its issues is also the number of characters it’s working with, while they’re not thrown into one giant heap, the separation is not enough to make them stand out. They have overlapping personalities, rather than individuality. The result of which means there’s no-one for you to truly put your weight behind, to grasp as the true lead or saviour of the story. It’s trying to fit a lot in and most of it isn’t focusing on what you’d hope, it loses the sense of fun that you get from zombie and monster flicks. The chaos and carnage is key, you really want to see them go full force into the blood and damage, and create something entertaining, even if it is gratuitous or over-the-top. It’s a shame that it lost that tone amongst the dialogue.
Bridge of the Doomed attempts to recreate a beloved recipe but uses the wrong ingredients. Instead of going all out on an action-packed, violent zombie adventure, it spreads itself thin with melodrama and infighting. The visual is also mundane, the energy it’s already missing out on then isn’t helped by the direction. It feels like it’s not ramping up to anything but more akin to a rather tame episode of a zombie apocalypse series.