Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dead Set: Some Brit Horror

In my opinion you can almost never go wrong with zombies. Even the weakest movies with these gruesome creatures as critter feature are entertaining to me. Comedies go well with them as well as horror movies. Comic books thrive in this niche and even literature picks up on the zombie myth. It was a matter of time before a mini-series were to be made and with this overture coming to an end I present to you “Dead Set”, a five episode series about a zombie outbreak hitting Britain. The focus falls on the Big Brother house, where the sole survivors are actually the housemates inside and some of the TV shows’s personnel.

As per with most good survival horror adventures much about the outbreak’s origin and nature is not known and even if people wanted to know that wouldn’t help them stay any more alive and out of danger. The best part of the whole mini series is that it didn’t hold back in the gore section. Blood, organs and body parts grace the silver screen with great deal of realism. The zombie species featured is the runner, which is not as ominous as its shuffling and moaning cousin, since to me the slow zombie is the symbol for inevitable death, from which you can run, but you can’t really escape. However the fast zombie delivers a great number of scare moments, popping out from nothing with glazed over eyes and a predatory shriek. I found it most enjoyable to see actors abandon their characters and then go completely animalistic. It’s the commitment that makes it believable and exciting, because the cast managed to make me believe in their metamorphosis into undead.

The main protagonist as far as I can tell is Kelly, a runner for the show, who before the outbreak tries everything to excel in the television business, but ultimately gets bossed around by Patrick the producer. After the outbreak she is lucky enough to survive and hides in the Big Brother house, where her bloodied appearance and her story of hungry dead were met by the housemates as another mission. Once however one zombie breaks in and infects two of the survivors, things change and from here on starts the battle to outsmart the predators, fortify the house and manage provisions. It all goes well until Patrick the producer manages to get in the house and drag everybody in a messed up escape plan, which ultimately leads to the loss of every advantage the survivors had.

Perhaps it’s because I am partial to the bulked out tension and the question “Will a zombie attack them now?”, but I found this mini-series quite refreshing. Considering the fact it got nominated for the BAFTA award. To hardcore Romero fans it will be also a scavenger hunt for references to the ‘Living Dead’ series. Apart from that I can’t help but spin some theories to why the writers chose to place this story in the Big Brother house and tie it with live TV. I view this as a grotesque representation of our current culture at the time being. With reality TV being intelligence’s current sworn nemesis the zombie outbreak can be interpreted as society’s collective drop of IQ. The fact that the only channel on TV still functioning is not CNN or anything watch-worthy but the Big Brother Live Feed, speaks that much to me. Of course I can be wrong and nevertheless it’s cool to se the Big Brother house used as a bunker.

1 comment:

Hagelrat said...

I really enjoyed this when it came out. Not something i'd watch again and again, but sooo glad they did it. Also,lovely to see Davina send herself up.

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