Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dead Set

I have to admit, I didn't know anything about this show until by bro-in-law told me about it. And I'm very thankful that he decided to let me watch his copy of the show. At first I thought it was one of those crappy zombie movies he keeps buying for 10 bucks at the nearby DVD store (being a zombie connoisseur, I have high standards when it comes to zombie movies). It really doesn't matter if it's a low budget movie but it has to have that atmosphere and it has to be made with passion. You can see and feel it in the final product (even with crappy special effects). You can have all the budget and still come out with a dud e.g. Resident Evil 2 (Apocalypse). In comparison, you can have a movie like REC which was shot with an extremely tight budget in a real apartment block (to save cost) and come out with something really good (albeit not all that original). So...I'm really happy to say I was wrong this time. Dead Set is a good show for horror fans and zombie movies fans alike.

Since the very entertaining Shaun of the Dead and AWESOME (my favourite word) 28 Days Later, I've been anxious to see more Brit zombies. In this respect, Dead Set does not disappoint. It is very very British. And it's an authentic gory zombie movie. You'll be able to get it more if you actually lived in the UK at some point in time. Even better, if you actually watched and followed Big Brother UK.

The story starts out in the Big Brother house, and having been isolated from the population in a secure compound, the contestants have the honour of being the few survivors in the zombie outbreak. So for 5 episodes we can see how these people try to survive and get supplies in a country overun with zombies. There have been movies like REC and Diary of the Dead who used the 'through the eyes of the now dead cameraman' perspective, but Dead Set manages to find a different and a much more interesting angle of a true TV phenomenon (Big Brother). Makes it much more authentic that some scenes were filmed during an actual Big Brother event.

What makes this movie great is that the actors are spot on in their portrayal of Big Brother participants. You got the pansy, the slut, the brawns with no brains, the 'trying to be smart' dude, the chav etc. etc. All the actors played their parts perfectly. Props to Andy Nyman who plays Patrick, the pompous ar$ehole director of Big Brother.

The zombies in the movie are the running kind (think Dawn of the Dead Remake). Don't get me wrong, the slow-moving Lucio Fulci zombies are still the best, but the running zombies create a different atmosphere in the movie. The creator of Dead Set has given a good explanation in why he chose the running zombies instead. It's basically to make it realistic enough for the timeline. Running zombies spread the disease much much faster and goes well with the premise that the contestants didn't know what was happening till it was much too late and the whole country has gotten infected. long as they're zombies, I'm not complaining.

The violence is gruesome and the special effects realistic enough for a TV series. If you're a Big Brother fan, you'll recognise many faces in the show as a lot of past participants make a cameo appearance. You'll even see Davina McCall playing herself and her zombie self. If you're like me and a fan of zombie movies, you'll notice references to zombie movies like Night of the Living Dead. It's all very exciting for zombie movie fans who actually know their stuff to notice these things. It can become annoying for non-fans when we start telling them about it.

So, I'd rate this TV series a solid 3 1/2 stars out of 4. Would have been better if the ending was different. This is a must watch show that should be in every horror movie (or zombie) fan's collection. It's not often that someone comes up with a zombie TV series (if there ever was one). and the creator should be applauded for it.

Total run time for Dead Set is around 180 minutes and it's best to watch it all in one shot.



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