Story: The usual group of dinks vie for attention on Big Brother(UK). But what happens when the zombie apocalypse happens? Survival vs the Darwin Awards!
Scares: Lots of high quality creep.
Splat factor: It’s cable TV. Of course it’s bloody. Lots of spatter on walls (and everything else) as people get attacked. Plus, there’s lots of guts and body parts as people get eaten.
Closing scene “shocker”?: Um…no.
Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: A riff on Big Brother, and other “locked in” reality shows. But it’s an original piece.
Trick or Treat?: Make the time to check this one out this October. At 5 episodes each around 20 minutes – except for the 45 minute first ep – it’s easy to binge in one go. And if you’re wondering about copyright violations with Big Brother(UK) (which I’ll shorten to Big Brother because I’m lazy) being namechecked? Well, not only is that fine, but several cast members from the series make appearances here. Y’see, Dead Set was produced by Zeppotron, which is a part of the company that produces Big Brother. Dig? And you should dig; this miniseries is totally gore-oovy. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t review first thing in the morning. But let’s roll with this, shall we?
Well done sense of building dread in the first ep, with production crew watching news footage about “rioting” as the higher ups stay focused on ratings. Great editing as well, with scenes of the Big Brother house and production area intercut with zombies turning/attacking as MIKA’s “Grace Kelly” plays in the background. It’s fantastic, thanks to pitch-perfect editing and a cast that’s super game for whatever comes.
Dead Set was touted as a horror/comedy, but while there are lots of funny-in-the-moment situations, if you’re expecting Shaun of the Dead, you’ll be disappointed. So don’t expect to laugh ’til your sides hurt, just enjoy this story for the bloody good fun it is. Complete with smart folks who know how to survive…and complete idiots that do stupid stuff like screaming and firing guns after they know sounds draw the undead, leaving places that are perfectly safe, and walking outside so they’re visible to the fence-rattling horde. And let’s not forget the treasured zombie trope of letting someone who’s dying turn, rather than dispatching the pre-zombie before s/he can do any harm.
I love the take on the real Big Brother “eye” logo here, though I didn’t get as much enjoyment from seeing former castmates. That’s just because I’ve never seen an episode of the real show. What? I’m not a reality-watcher gal. But there is Elyes Gabel from Scorpion, and it’s fun to see a younger him in this. And I give mad props to real-life Big Brother host Davina McCall, who plays herself in this series…and goes Full Zombie Mode.
Not only did I enjoy Dead Set, I’m seriously considering picking up the DVD. As soon as it comes in a Region 1 release.
Score: 4.5 out of 5 pumpkins.