For a while, Neil Marshall was being lauded as horror’s newest and most exciting auteur, which was entirely fair and completely understandable when Dog Soldiers and The Descent scored strong reviews from critics, cleaned up at the box office relative to their budgets, and became instant modern genre gems. However, Doomsday was when the wheels started to come off, and he arguably hasn’t recovered.
The post-apocalyptic hybrid of action, thriller, and horror was the filmmaker’s most ambitious and expensive feature by far, but respective Rotten Tomatoes scores of 51 and 44 percent from critics and audiences – coupled with a big screen bombing – took the wind right out of the sails.
Since then, Marshall has misfired again with the forgotten flop Centurion, helmed one of the worst comic book adaptations of the century through the Hellboy reboot, and then returned to his gore-heavy roots with The Reckoning and The Lair, neither of which boasts anything to write home about. His work on the small screen has been stellar, though, but his movies have failed to recapture that early momentum.
That being said, there’s a lot of people who seem to disagree on the merits of Doomsday, seeing as a Reddit thread has found plenty of commenters supporting the belief that it deserves to be recognized as an underappreciated, underrated, and overlooked cult classic.
The most telling response by all is the one stating that “He should be where [Mike] Flanagan is,” underlining the sentiment that Marshall could and arguably should have been one of the entire artform’s leading lights, regardless of whether you think the blood-soaked romp through a quarantined Scotland was treated too harshly or not.