Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Dead Set (2008)

Night of the Living Dead in the Big Brother house.

From the sound of that, you might expect a comedy (albeit a dark one), and there are certainly parts of Dead Set - mostly near the beginning - that aim for laughs.  But this is principally a straight-up zombie apocalypse story, with a tone and narrative much more in keeping with George Romero's 1968 film than say Zombieland or the first half of Shaun of the Dead.

Set during a fictitious season of the still-running UK version of Big Brother, this series postulates a zombie outbreak during one of the "eviction nights", on which huge crowds gather outside the Big Brother house to cheer for their favourites and boo the housemates they hate.  The rampaging undead swiftly sweep over the entire United Kingdom, killing millions, including the crowd at the Big Brother house.

The housemates themselves of course are completely unaware of the disaster.  They're cut off from TV, radio or any other form of outside news, and are locked inside one of the most secure non-military buildings in the country.  And of course, when someone from the outside finally makes it inside the house, they initially believe her tales of the walking dead to be some strange gimmick of the show: a belief of which they'll be pretty quickly disabused.

Clocking in at a tightly plotted 2 hours and 20 minutes (including the "previously on" segments at the start of each episode), Dead Set is a fine example of the zombie genre.  It's got a fine mix of characters, heroic and villainous alike, and does a better than normal job of making the actions of the "jerk" characters seem relatively plausible in the extreme circumstances they're facing.

If you're at all a fan of zombie media, check this one out.

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