Directed by Francis Lawrence (Constantine) and co-written and co-produced by Akiva Goldsman, I Am Legend (Warner Bros., 12.14.07) “is testimony to the unexpected durability of Richard Matheson‘s 1953 novel,” writes Lewis Beale in the N.Y. Times.
“It’s a taut, realistic chiller about a post-apocalyptic world in which germ warfare creates a biological plague that turns humans into bloodsuckers.
“The idea was born, says Matheson, now 80 and living in the Los Angeles area, ‘when I was a teenager and saw Bela Lugosi in Dracula. I thought if the world was full of vampires, it would be more frightening than just one, and I explained vampires in biological terms.’ In the book, some vampires have developed a pill that keeps the disease in check and allows them to live relatively normal lives. This element now plays as an AIDS metaphor, though the book was written 30 years before H.I.V. was even identified.”
One nagging question: I Am Legend‘s premise is different from any generic roving-zombie film in what way exactly? It’s an old idea….a tired one, even. And the fact that Lawrence is directing should give everyone pause. Constantine convinced me he’s in the realm of Stephen Sommers badness. Constantine, remember, got a 46% positive Rotten Tomatoes rating.