Home Entertainment

Batman – The Doom That Came to Gotham Blu-ray review: Dir. Sam Liu, Christopher Berkeley

Batman and horror are such a perfect fit, it’s frankly puzzling as to why the franchise doesn’t lean into these creepier elements more often. Occasionally a video game or comic book takes Batman into more outwardly terrifying territory, playing on horror tropes to a degree, but it’s more often diluted by the adjacent super-heroics. Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham is an admirable attempt to do a Batman film that’s pure horror, though it falters just as much as it thrills.

Based on the 2001 comic book of the same name by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, Richard Pace and Troy Nixley, Doom That Came to Gotham immediately sets out its stall and posits itself as a dark, atmospheric horror-tinged adventure that draws on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, combining elements of his works with that of the wider Batman canon. Common Lovecraftian themes like freakish body horror, trans-dimensional dark arts and otherworldly cosmicism rub shoulders with the action, mystery and spectacle of a typical Batman comic, and for the most part the two genres fuse together nicely. Civilisational decline is common theme of Lovecraft’s writing, so in many ways Gotham City, a place permanently teetering on the edge of ruin and social decay, is an apt setting for a mash-up of caped vigilantes and existential supernatural dread. Likewise, supporting characters from the Batman mythos like Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Green Arrow and Ras Al Ghul fit perfectly into the various roles of Lovecraft’s characters and monsters.

Unfortunately the production, whilst admirable, never quite achieves the desired effect it wants. The animation is a bit too bright and vibrant to truly sell the horrific atmosphere, lacking the shadows and textures required for a truly creepy feel. The film overcompensates with bloody violence as a result, and whilst there are some unsettling moments here and there, the film ultimately feels like a missed opportunity to create something truly powerful and scary.

There’s plenty of merit to proceedings though, that make this a must watch for Batman fans at the very least. The script, whilst slow to get going, offers up some great moments and the action is well animated for the most part, particular in the climactic battle. The unnerving and grotesque creature designs scattered throughout are memorable in appearance, particularly those of popular Batman villains like Poison Ivy, Mr Freeze and Killer Croc, whose new looks are especially disturbing. And the voice performances on the whole are on-point, with Grimm‘s David Giuntoli proving to be an inspired choice to play this reimagined Batman.

A deep, nihilistic take on the world of DC Comics, The Doom That Came to Gotham is a commendable attempt to do a straight-horror Batman movie, which ultimately entertains despite it’s various shortcomings. The combination of H.P. Lovecraft and Gotham City’s characters is a fine idea, and whilst the execution doesn’t fully achieve the scares it sets out to create, it does provide an interesting and dark tale that Batman fans will enjoy.

Don’t worry – you won’t have nightmares.

Blu-ray Extras

Batman: Shadows of Gotham (13 Mins) is short, sharp featurette that touches on the film’s story, influences and themes with the filmmakers. It offers some interesting tidbits of information but isn’t as focused on the actual production as one would want. Thankfully, there’s an insightful audio commentary with Producer/Co-Director Sam Liu, Screenwriter Jase Ricci, Producer Jim Krieg and DC’s Creative Director Mike Carlin included on the disc, which goes deeper into the history of the comic and the production of the film. There’s also a couple of previews for previous DC Animated Movies and a fantastic two-part episode of Batman: The Animated Series (The Demon’s Head) thrown in for good measure.

Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham is available to purchase on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital now


Post your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.