It is not often that a movie freaks me out. In fact, I cannot remember the last time a movie wigged me out so much that I didn’t want to turn the lights off before going to sleep at night. However, “I Am Legend” succeeded where most movies don’t: it got into my head. I loved it.
In this [third movie adaptation], Robert Neville (Will Smith) is a military scientist charged with finding a cure for a virus that turns people into crazed, hairless, flesh-eating zombies. Failing to complete his work in time, Neville finds himself alone in Manhattan, his natural immunity to the virus keeping him alive. With a German shepherd his only companion, Neville is a hunter-gatherer in sunlight, hiding from the mutants at night in his town house and methodically conducting experiments to conquer the disease.
Will Smith was fantastic – he seems so sane throughout the movie, and yet you get glimpses of just how insane a person would be if he was the ONLY LIVING PERSON for three years. Similar to solitary confinement, only with the whole city at your disposal. The stress of that loneliness absolutely showed on his face as the movie progresses – which shows some great subtle acting on Smith’s part.
As for the night-loving monsters themselves, I wasn’t impressed. I think the movie would have done much better NOT to show the faces of the zombies at all. Conversely, I think that instead of having CGI zombies, the filmmakers should have gone the route of “Lord of the Rings” and actually done full-scale makeup on live humans to achieve a truly horrifying zombie. It could have been done, especially when you think of how nasty the Orcs were in LOTR. That’s the ONLY thing I didn’t like about the movie.
The only extras on our rental were some animated comics that were done about other parts of the world that were infected. It was actually those comics that got me so freaked out – in many ways, those animated cartoons were much scarier than the movie.
As I turned out the lights in the tv room I got freaked by a random noise by the back door. And then by the stairs creaking on my way upstairs. And then the way the tv in our bedroom poured grey flickering light all over the room as I walked in. And then the coldness of the blankets as I crawled into bed. But fortunately, morning came, and the sun rose, and when I woke up I was still alive and no zombies had hunted us down.
4 1/2 bottles of ammonia out of five.
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