A. Zombie Reviews . . . Dead Set
By A. Zombie
It’s no great surprise when the plot runs a predictable course from here on out. Know what? I don’t care. There’s some golden moments when the entire surviving cast is finally together in the BB house.
First, they need to save Angel. Or not. Then they need to save Grayson . . . . Whoops. Okay, third time’s the charm. Kelly and Space are bullied across the studio lot to escort Patrick and Pippa to the house. That’s pretty much the beginning of the end. Once Patrick’s ego enters the room, unrest takes hold and chaos reigns.
How crazy does a guy have to be to sit there laughing like a kookaburra while disemboweling someone he spent weeks watching via the BB cameras? Reality TV producer crazy is the correct answer. This guy is so certain he has the right idea, he never slows while cobbling together his hair-brained plan. Patrick’s ability to manipulate people is the final nail in the coffin. Despite the others attempting to contain His Lunatic Highness, the Force is strong with this one and Patrick convinces Joplin to free him—based solely on the fact that the housemates loathe Joplin.
Things aren’t much better for Tariq, Kelly’s boyfriend, and his skittish savior, Alex. She never sits still. Always scans for trouble. We get little on her background or why she’s more prepared than most to deal with the zombie fallout. The pair are holed up in a farmhouse alongside a river. Alex feels confident they can stay there, but he’s ready to move on toward the studio. A plan Alex wants nothing to do with, yet still she grabs some gear and off they go. She is right to fight against leaving the farmhouse. The act of kindness is repaid when ‘Riq mercy-kills Alex after she’s bitten. Explains why she didn’t get a backstory.
When Riq makes it to the BB lot, it’s surrounded. He barely clears the fence, with zombies on his heels. The studio greeting party needs to work on their gift basket. Marky fires several shots before Kelly stops him, realizing the “zombie” below speaks coherently and is actually her boyfriend.
Try as he might, Riq can’t get Patrick to believe him about the destruction beyond the gate. Once the producer’s plan rolls into motion, it’s just a matter of waiting for the inevitable. There’s never a chance that Joplin and Patrick can get it together enough to make it past the horde at the gate. Nor is there chance the bumbling housemates, plus Tariq, will rescue Kelly when Patrick holds her hostage as leverage to get outside. The story is told once the gates open, we simply hang around to watch the bloody outcome.
The latter half of this miniseries is much more palatable. I won’t say it’s because the obnoxious housemates started dying like moths around a campfire, but it is a bonus. Going into the first episode, I was sure it’d be the worst. Thankfully, there’s ample gore to balance the reality aspect in the plot. Paired with decent special effects and satisfying character deaths, it produces an entertaining couple of hours.
I give Dead Set an overall three and three-quarters butchered reality stars out of five.
A. Zombie Reviews . . . Dead Set
Episodes 1 & 2
By A. Zombie
I’ll tell you right now, two episodes into Dead Set and I still have nothing emotionally invested in the show’s contestants. That’s not to say I haven’t found someone to root for during the end days—Kelly steals every scene she’s in, vastly improving what could have been five episodes of uninspiring reality stars wandering around until they were eaten.
I’d totally cheer if they were all eaten. I might even wave pompoms.
The show opens with a typical afternoon leading up to another eviction from the BB house, as dictated by fan votes. The household prepares, some touching up their nails, others banging out their nerves behind closed doors. In the production office, Kelly delivers an endless stream of coffee to the crew. The producer, Patrick, demonstrates what a skuzzball he really is while cutting together highlight reels for the event and barking orders at his frazzled staff. Nothing is amiss until we catch snippets from news reports—strange deaths, attacks on police, etc. The reports grow in severity, leading Patrick to worry his precious eviction episode will be preempted in favor of a news bulletin. God forbid.
Eventually, the chaos reaches the remote location for the BB house and production office. The first zombie to arrive is a company driver—injured and brought to the studio by a production assistant who was sent with him to fetch a guest for the show. From there, the infection spreads through the gathered BB fans. By the time the evicted housemate, Pippa, makes it to the interview room, most of the crowd has turned. It takes mere minutes for the undead to overrun the offices.
The housemates hear the screams and think Pippa is a smash hit with the crowd. They crack open a few bottles, a few drinks to celebrate surviving to see another eviction night.
Little do they know, they’re probably the only ones celebrating in the UK.
The real story isn’t the housemates or their skeezy producer. Kelly provides the heartbeat, and common sense, for the show. While her love life is a feature in the beginning, it’s a non-issue by the time the second episode rolls out. There are a few amazing solo scenes with Kelly doing whatever it takes to survive. It’s not until she takes refuge in the BB house with the remaining cast that we realize she’s the entire braintrust. Where they are keen to believe for as long as possible that the weird things going on are staged, she’s ready to beat anyone to death who so much as looks undead. She’s also the only one with a plan to get medical supplies when a housemate is bitten.
The zombies themselves are minimally made-up, background creatures relying on pale faces, a few wounds, and blood to convey the undead message. We see a few hero zombies with better makeup, mostly in the second episode. There’s great detail in the close-up gore shots, though they’re so shaky, it’s like a toddler was thrown into the fight scenes with a Go Pro strapped to their head. These are also some seriously fast undead. It raises the stakes drastically when the living cannot outrun the dead. Something missing from other shows relying on compelling characters to drive the plot. Who needs to relate to the characters? Just give us zombie action.
While I’m enjoying Kelly’s story, and it’s the only reason I’ll watch the three remaining episodes, this would be much more entertaining with a better-written cast behind her. Patrick is a toad, utterly disgusting and should’ve died in the initial murders. The housemates barely have a brain cell between them. It makes their scenes difficult to endure to get to the actual story. Hopefully with Kelly breaking the barrier between the BB production team and the housemates, it’ll make their scenes bearable.