It all began with 2002’s Dog Soldiers, Marshall’s on-the-cheap werewolves vs. the Army film, which was considered good enough by some to get this whole cult business going. I wasn’t on board, myself, though at this point I don’t remember the movie well enough to offer up any kind of strong objections (the fact that Dog Soldiers has almost completely fled my memory might be considered damning enough, if I wasn’t the one saying it, because my memory’s shot). But next up, Marshall offered the world The Descent, a highly effective, at times even torturous, in the good sense, horror film about caves, female spelunkers, and blind, shrieking, underground monsters. It’s an excellent film, about which I won’t say too much at this time – for now it’s enough to note that the Marshall cult was ready to get this show on the road, and that Marshall seemed perfectly willing to lay his cinematic influences bare, in The Descent quoting liberally from, for instance, Kubrick’s The Shining, among others. This was all fine by us, until Doomsday, Marshall’s next film, came along, and struck the world as basically Escape from New York and The Road Warrior, but bad. Not terrible, and in fact, for my money, sort of fun, but about as empty as such fun can be. Doomsday’s debt to The Road Warrior is especially immense, to the point where you can’t say, as you could with The Descent, that Marshall was quoting his influences – this was plagiarism.
Needless to say, the Marshall cult began to lose a lot of its verve and enthusiasm at around this point. When the object of a cult begins, with only his third film, to flaunt his lack of creativity and show signs that he is not, in fact, in the filmmaking business, but rather the recycling business, the acolytes tend to start standing around, scratching their necks and kicking the dirt, filled with a dread that this may not have been such a hot idea after all. Such doubts tend to be fleeting, however, and why shouldn’t they be? At worst, Doomsday and The Descent cancel each other out (Dog Soldiers counting as sort of an introduction, an announcement of potential, more than anything else), and there’s no reason to not hold out hope for Marshall’s next film. Maybe if he could come up with a movie title that began with a letter other than D, he’d really be on to something.