Now airing in England
Directed by Charlie Brooker
Big Brother meets 28 Days Later is basically the scenario for the new E4 zombie drama Dead Set.
And I am in heaven.
The five-part drama, which is airing all this week on E4 with the finale airing on Halloween night, is set against the backdrop of a fictional Big Brother season as the remaining houseguests, crew, and fans are all about to participate in the live eviction of one houseguest. The set is in complete chaos as it is getting ready for the event with the houseguests fighting. The producers are bitching behind the scenes and a gofer, Kelly, on the show is dealing with personal issues dealing with a coworker and her boyfriend. While all of this is going on, the UK is being overtaken by a zombie outbreak and it is rapidly spreading to the Big Brother set.
And when it hitsâ¦BOY does it hit!
The first episode is an hour long with the other four episodes clocking in at 30 minutes and the first hour doesn’t disappoint. After the eviction takes place, all hell breaks loose as the zombies attack the people outside, who then attack the crew in a sequence that will go down in my memory as one of the best zombie attacks ever. And this is all in the first 30 minutes.
As people are being eaten left and right, the houseguests continue to party inside the Big Brother house, heedless to the chaos that is taking place right outside the house. The characters are stereotypical Big Brother contestants, but the actors give them some sort of depth to the point where you know who you want to die and who you want to live or who you want to see undead.
The story doesn’t take place only in the Big Brother house. The action moves to the production office and in another part of city as Kelly’s boyfriend is out trying to find safety. The first hour ends with the producer Patrick finding his way into a production room, after being chased by a pissed off zombified hostess Davina, with the last person he wanted to see alive. Kelly makes her way into the actual Big Brother house, which now includes Veronica, Angel, Marky, Grayson and Space. Space and Grayson see that Kelly is not some new houseguest, but Marky toys with Kelly and against her wishes, opens the door to the production booth and inadvertently lets in a zombie, who bites one of the houseguests before Kelly bashes its head in. She gives the final line of the night.
“You got to get them in the head.”
The UK channel has taken two things that I love and delivered something that American audiences would never grasp or if they did, it would not be on any of the top five networks and would be censored in many areas. I am not a gore hound, but this show has enough gore to make the squeamish and utmost lover of the stuff come to a sensible truce on the subject.
The use of not only the actual Big Brother moniker, but also the UK’s Big Brother host, Davina McCall, brings a sense of realism to the show. I say this because the creator of the show, Charlie Brooks, could have used a fake name instead of using the real Big Brother brand name and a fake host, but in the end it would have been a parody, predictable, and possibly not entertaining at all. I really feel that this, as I call it, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare take on the zombie genre breathes new life into a rapidly stale genre. I recommend this movie to not only zombie fans, but to horror fans and the casual viewer alike.