Monday, December 22, 2008

Dead Set - The Review

Fangoria Magazine has a great feature on their website called Everyone's a Critic, where fans can write their own reviews, and have them posted online -- right on the front page of!

The Dead Set TV review posted here, comes from that site.

Written by Ailsa Lawson

Monday, 22 December 2008 06:00

Here we are again with another installment of EVERYONE'S A CRITIC, the feature that puts YOU in the reviewers seat right on the front page of

This edition comes to us all the way from Scotland, courtesy of a very talented writer named Ailsa Lawson. Ailsa has been kind enough to share her opinions on a British television mini-series called DEAD SET, which basically shows what would happen if they let George Romero direct an episode of the reality show BIG BROTHER. Intrigued? You should be! So stop wasting time and click on in to see what we're missing here in the States...
For much of the Western world, the airing of the reality TV show BIG BROTHER is a celebrated annual event, monopolising several television channels during its broadcasting and making front page news on a daily basis, no matter how mundane the topic. Round the world audiences sit glued to their televisions or internet feeds, fixated on the every move of a group of housemates propelled into the public eye as they play to the cameras, hoping to secure their future meal-ticket as a minor celebrity once free from the confines of the BIG BROTHER house. But what would happen to this group of fame-hungry misfits if something were to go wrong behind the scenes?

Charlie Brooker’s DEAD SET explores what might happen in the event of a zombie outbreak during a series of Big Brother in Britain, with the housemates oblivious to the chaos and carnage of the outside world. This will of course appeal to those who love BIG BROTHER, but its satirical and humorous twist ensures that it is those who despise reality TV who will really be the ones who will revel in this indulgently gruesome view of an apocalyptic onslaught on humanity. I personally despise BIG BROTHER, and as a huge horror fan with a serious obsession with special effects make-up, I found this to be a utopian viewing situation, despite my initial apprehension about mixing reality TV with the zombie genre. Modern zombie films have posed many difficulties for me as my allegiances still lie firmly with George A. Romero (the visionary behind NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, DAWN OF THE DEAD and DAY OF THE DEAD), whom I consider to be the Godfather of zombie films, and as such he has set the rules and standard which all films referencing the undead should adhere to. Like the DAWN OF THE DEAD and DAY OF THE DEAD remakes, I find the fact that the zombie characters in DEAD SET can run to be problematic, as I still firmly believe that it is the scale and relentless force that makes zombies frightening, not their speed. Otherwise though, I have very few complaints.

DEAD SET’s highly entertaining storyline is truly enhanced by excellent special effects by Matt Smith (THE MUMMY, GLADIATOR, etc.). This series successfully delivers on all aspects we as horror enthusiasts long to see: skin and tissue is ripped from characters bodies, heads are blown apart and like any good zombie film, a character is shown to be ripped in half, continuing to scream and flail their limbs as their entrails are consumed before them. Many scenes are clearly influenced by the work of George Romero and special effects master Tom Savini through a clear correlation in dialogue and details within the effects themselves. While for many remakes, it is this lack of originality that has led to their downfall, in DEAD SET these moments of homage truly enriches the storyline with their salute to the great work before them in the zombie genre. The decision to use special effects make-up in DEAD SET reminds audiences how successful prosthetic effects can be in comparison to the alternatives of the computer generated manipulation we see in most contemporary zombie movies, for example RESIDENT EVIL or I AM LEGEND.

DEAD SET provides retribution for all the hours we as audiences have been subjected to watching housemates do nothing more than snore away in their beds, and for horror fans this really should be on your ‘to see’ list.

All episodes are available to watch in full for free at: (Ed Note: the full episodes appear to not be online as of this writing. Or, it could be that we're just getting blocked, because we're here in Canada.)

Our comrade Jon, over at Trioxin (who has also reviewed Dead Set -- read it here), mentioned in his review that there's a DVD set out, with the whole 5 part series -- so we North Americans might just be in luck.

Well Dead Set has not cornered the market in the zombie television department. "The Walking Dead" is premiering on AMC tonight (Oct 21, 2010)-- based on the graphic novel by the same name. Read all about it here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post, it is great