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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and terrifying, December 17, 2007
What happens when in modern times, a revolutionary, almost too-good-to-be-true solution to a life threatening, scary problem appears and seems to be the cure for everything that goes wrong? As if someone walked up to you one day and said "Oh, hi, here's a magical box that if you keep it with you all the time, you will never be sick, never have problems, and have a long lasting life." Would you still feel the same about your life and the people in it? And would you rely on this so much...that it would destroy you? What if that solution was the cure for cancer? "I Am Legend" is a fascinating, new post-apocalyptic thriller starring veteran actor Will Smith. When the cure for cancer is brought upon humanity, and the drug is administered to patients, hell breaks loose. A virus is created, that starts as side effects to the drug. One day in New York, the virus mutates and ends infecting everyone on the planet, with a 90% kill rate. The virus takes these people and transforms them into possessive zombie-like creatures that are deathly afraid of the light and come out at night to hunt for survivors of the virus.

Robert Neville, a brilliant scientist, is apparently the only survivor of this pandemic, being somehow completely immune to the mutated virus. He lives alone with his dog Samantha who is also immune to the air-borne strain of the virus only in New York City, which has been completely deserted. He sends out radio signals to search for other survivors while trying to maintain his sanity and test samples of the virus in his lab he has in his basement. Everything seems OK for him, from strolling the disturbingly empty, weed-ridden streets of Manhattan, driving golf balls from rooftops, and taking unrestricted tours of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Until the night comes. At his watch's beep, Neville bolts himself into his house to protect him and Samantha from what's out there--the remaining 90% of the world's population who want to infect Neville and Samantha. He mustn't be seen in the darkness to avoid the zombie/human creatures who watch his every move, waiting for him to slip up. As if this wasn't enough, Neville is plagued with dreams of the final moments of human civilization, when the aggressive decision is made to quarantine New York City, and the horrific death of his wife and daughter.

I know what you're thinking--that I Am Legend sounds like a corny, cheesy, over-used, washed up, unoriginal B-movie Hollywood pile of crap. I can assure you, it is far from that. The film is scientifically fascinating (even from a person who despises the thought of science class) and is like a window onto our own current society that where we're headed, trying to fix everything, can end in horrific situations. The images of post-day New York are extremely disturbing and horrifying, especially if you're familiar with the city as I am, from living in its metro area. Images of a blowing, dusty Times Square, complete with its usual screens and advertisements, except with cracks in the street, weeds growing out, and no people--something that anyone who's ever been to New York will tell you is simply impossible.

The movie seems to be two-faced. There is a dire, extremely thought provoking sense of caution and tensity throughout the film, even in the calm scenes, that inspires otherworldly levels of suspense. You can do anything you like in the Big Apple that is now 100% deserted--except go out at night. This makes the film both extremely entertaining, very fascinating to watch, and utterly terrifying.

Apart from all of that, "I Am Legend" is the scariest film I've seen all year. By far. And it's not everyday a PG-13 receives that reward. Not only the premise of being totally alone in a disturbingly deserted huge city that used to be home to over eight million, but in other ways as well. Unlike other zombie movies, which may you leave you laughing, "I Am Legend" has got the stuff to leave you shielding your eyes and shaking in fear. I know it had me scared out of my mind. Some of the scenes are extremely intense, grotesque, and the movie is jam-packed with utterly horrifying jump scenes that had my completely packed theater jumping out of their seats (and no, it wasn't just me). I could say that this movie is scarier than all four "Saw" films combined. Therefore--unless you can take a very scary movie, it might be a good idea to pass this one up. I feel sorry for those who saw it in IMAX. But if you can take the horror, get your tickets. If one movie this season deserves your ticket money, make it "Legend." The film is extremely well crafted and executed. Francis Lawrence delivers incredibly good direction and the editing is very well done, with horrifying flashbacks to a panicked New York, and makes the film that much more fascinating to watch. There is a strange sense of realism in the movie, something that'll make you think, "Could this be where we're headed?" Not in the sense of zombies, of course, but in other disasters. The only complaints I have with this film is the ending was much less than satisfactory, and in my taste, was a bit too clichéd. The second half of the film is still very good, but fails to deliver the tensity, horror, and strange fascination that the first half brings.

So, if you're looking for a way out of a bunch of dumb laughable zombie movies, and searching for one that actually scares the crap out of you, check out "I Am Legend." You may find yourself pleasantly surprised.
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Location: Madison, NJ USA

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