Director – Charlie Brooker
Cast – Jaime Winstone, Riz Ahmed, Andy Nyman, Adam Deacon, Warren Brown, Jennifer Aries, Chizzy Akdulolu, Raj Ghatak
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
For starters, this isn’t exactly a movie…yet. This is a 5 episode series that debuted on British television, and is SUPPOSEDLY coming out as one long movie on dvd soon, but no word yet if it will be distributed here in the United States.
This film is based on the popular UK hit reality show “Big Brother”, as this show is really a fake “Big Brother” series. While the country is watching who will be evicted next on the current “Big Brother” episode, an epidemic that turns all those infected into human flesh eating whatchamacallits is spreading to the large crowd gathered outside the “Big Brother” house. As the pandemic sets in, all hell breaks loose with “zombies”(the word “zombie” is never actually used in the film) taking over the countryside, all while the contestants in the “Big Brother” house have no idea of the carnage going on around them(the house is soundproof and fortified). It is not until random survivors make it into the “Big Brother” set, that the contestants then learn what is going on around them. They must then fend off whatever zombies are already inside the set(sound crew and other employees that have become infected), as well as leave the premises to find supplies to last them while they wait out the carnage(obvious reference to gathering supplies from the mall in “Dawn of the Dead”). But with the zombies outside the set slowly adding up and putting more pressure on the reinforced gates(normally used to keep fans out), our protagonists must then decide whether it is worth staying in the house, or venturing into unknown, zombie occupied territory.
I found this flick to be highly entertaining for a television mini series. I’ve never really watched “Big Brother”(most reality shows aim for the stupid people…so not me!), but I did enjoy the setting of being trapped in the “Big Brother” set. It added some originality to a zombie genre that really is not very original anymore(you can only do so much, while keeping things interesting). I also liked how we are shown a bit of a sub plot to the “Big Brother” contestants being trapped. We are shown other survivors who are trapped somewhere on the “Big Brother” premises(still infested with zombies), or those out in the city who can see that the contestants on “Big Brother” are still alive, and are therefore doing what they can to trek the dangerous countryside to get to the fortified house. And the gore?(cuz every zombie flick needs gore right?) Well the gore is AMAZING! When the film gets started we are shown mainly cut away shots of the kills, but as the film progresses are we slowly shown more and more gore until the epic climax of the film which really gives us gorehounds something to drool over. I especially liked the scene where Patrick slices up and completely guts one of the dead in order to use the entrails and meat as bait to lure the zombies away for their escape plan. It was hilarious and also pretty damn gory, which pleases me more than Jenna Jameson ever could(I think…).
Although this film is highly entertaining there were some faults involving the script, especially with the character “Patrick”. He will REALLY annoy you after a while. Don’t get be wrong, he’s funny, but I believe any normal human being who is forced to listen to him mouth spew as much asshole remarks as he did will eventually become annoyed. I also found SOME of the zombie actors to be pretty “unreal” in their attempts to be zombies, mainly with how they would bang on locked doors(you’ll see).
Now…check this. I’m not sure as to whether I like this or not. For the most part…I don’t. There were LOTS of references to other great zombie films in this movie. Now as a fan of the zombie genre, I noticed them right away, but unfortunately I felt like not so many should have been included because with as many as there were…it seems as if this was not it’s own film. We see several shout outs to “Dawn of the Dead” with a character mentioning how the zombies are flocking to the “Big Brother” set our of “impulse”, that they “don’t know where else to go”(like Peter‘s speech in “Dawn of the Dead“ saying the zombies go to the mall because it’s the only place they remember). You also see an OBVIOUS nod to “Day of the Dead” with one of the deaths(wont say who due to spoiler issues) at the end of the film being EXACTLY like Captain Rhode’s death at the end of “Day of the Dead”. There are also references to the 2004 remake of “Dawn of the Dead” with people on the roof sniping zombies(which I always find cool. Haha!). And that’s not it! There are also nods to “Night of the Living Dead”, “28 Days Later”(the zombies look the same), and even “28 Weeks Later”! I will of course not say exactly what they were because I don’t want to ruin too much of the movie for you. Hehe. Be sure and post a blog comment or message me if you guess what scenes were nods to those films. But like I said…I felt that with this many nods to other films, this movie lost a bit of it’s own touch, even if the filmmakers were just trying to be “cool” with zombie fans.
Overall, this is a cool film you should definitely check out. It’s got an interesting setting for a zombie film, and has LOTS of gore. Lots of gore = good film right? Not always, but it at least makes up for what sucks in a film. Hehe.
This got such a high rating mainly because I felt it was well put together, entertaining and how they really did not hold back from the gore. I love to see filmmakers show some guts(pun intended) in making a film that will shock the viewers, even if it forces some to not like the film because of it(f*ck em!).
– I listed this film as an “Honorable Mention” in my Top 10 Horror Movies of 2008 post.