Aftermath is an uneven film that doesn’t have any of the qualities that made the games some of the most memorable in the survival horror genre.
The first attempt to bring the Dead Space franchise to the small screen was an undeniable failure, so it’s surprising to see that Electronic Arts decided to take another crack at it with Aftermath. Unlike the previous film though, Aftermath combines two styles of animation, but the result is similar: this is an uneven film that doesn’t have any of the qualities that made the games some of the most memorable in the survival horror genre.
Aftermath bridges the gap between Dead Space and Dead Space 2. Set in the year 2059, the film follows a group of survivors aboard the USG O’Bannon as they try to recall the events that killed their crew. The spaceship was sent to investigate the Ishimura and the Aegis VII colony after they lost contact, but O’Bannon suffers a similar luck and only four people survived the necromorph attack: security officer Nicholas Kuttner, engineer Alejandro Borges, chief science officer Nolan Stross and medical officer Isabella Cho. The survivors are imprisoned and interrogated to find out what happened to the ship and the other crew members.
One compelling part about Aftermath is that the film mixes two styles of animation: CGI is used whenever the characters are in present time and traditional 2D animation when there’s a flashback. Although this sounds inviting at first, the two styles are so dissimilar that they clash in an unconvincing manner. I didn’t have any problems with the flashbacks, since the animation looks quite well. The CGI, on the other hand, is so rough it’s distracting. I know this is a direct-to-DVD movie and the studio behind it had a limited budget to work with, but knowing what other studios can do with CGI in this day and age, I found this part of the movie repelling. I would have preferred to watch the entire movie with 2D animation instead of blending those styles.
One aspect that the Dead Space games had going for them is a tense atmosphere and horrifying moments that lingered in your mind for a while. That’s simply not the case with this movie. There’s blood, violence and swearing, but Aftermath is far from terrifying and feeling like a mature movie.
It’s hard to rate this movie giving its unconventional animation styles. I found half of the movie easy to watch thanks to the colorful animation, but the other half was unbearable. But that’s not all, the story is simply not that memorable and the movie fails to create a tense atmosphere which has always been a trademark of the video game series. Unless you feel like you have to watch everything Dead Space, I’d stay away from Aftermath.