There are very few actors who can carry a picture alone. Tom Hanks did in Cast Away with only a volleyball to talk to and now Will Smith finds himself in post-apocalyptic Manhattan with only his German shepherd for company.
By 2012, a virus caused by a supposed cure for cancer has killed most of humanity and turned those who have survived into vampire-like mutants. Lt. Col. Robert Neville (Will Smith) is a military scientist who is inexplicably immune to the plague. During the day, he attempts to hunt deer with a high-powered rifle and scavenges for supplies in the urban wasteland. But, at night, when rabid, howling predators roam the streets, he barricades himself in his Washington Square townhouse, where he conducts lab experiments in hopes of eradicating the outbreak with an antidote.
Eventually, lonely Neville finds two more uncontaminated humans, a Brazilian woman (Alice Braga) and a young boy (Charlie Tahan) who are heading for Vermont to join a survivor colony.
Richard Mathesons sci-fi 1954 novel, which spawned The Last Man on Earth (1964) with Vincent Price and The Omega Man (1971) with Charleton Heston, has been updated by Akiva Goldsman, who revised Mark Protsevichs screenplay that was written for Arnold Schwarzenegger before he decided to run for Californias Governorship.
Director Francis Lawrence (Constantine) paints a haunting cinematic picture of grim isolation and stark desolation, while the repugnant CGI zombies seem to have crossed the pond from Danny Boyles 28 Days.
Will Smith rises to the occasion superbly, working best with his canine companion, but the abrupt, unconvincing, religious-themed conclusion seems just too serendipitous. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, I Am Legend is a solitary, suspenseful 7, the scary stuff of which nightmares are made.