November 4, 2008

Review: Dead Set (2008) *The little British Zombie mini-series that could!

The series is set in the U.K. Big Brother house, and was first aired on E4 on 27 October 2008. The five episodes, aired over five consecutive nights, chronicle a zombie outbreak that strands housemates and production staff inside the Big Brother house.  

Episode 1- (45 minutes) We start in the U.K. Big Brother house on eviction night; both in the house with the contestants and behind the scenes with a frantic crew trying to make sure everything goes perfectly. It's got the "live action" feel without all of the sparseness of most movies/TV shows that have the "live action" feel.

One thing I loved right off the bat is that the British allow plenty of foul language and gore to be aired on a TV Show; Can you imagine a line like "It smells of fingering in here" getting past the suck-ass U.S. censors? I'm guessing channel E4 must be the Brit equivalent of a cable channel over there.

It takes about 15 minutes for the Zombie shit to hit the fan, the show avoiding an overly long buildup to get to the good stuff, and hit the f'ing fan it does; once the Zombies make their move, it happens in a lightning quick attack or blood and viscera. If you hate the idea of fast moving Zombies, then this one won't be for you. I prefer the slow, old school, Romero/Fulci-esque zombies myself, but that fact didn't lessen my liking of what I was seeing. I love how the Big Brother housemates are pretty much left in the dark once everything goes haywire; they have no contact with the outside world and start to freak out when they realize what's going on.

So far: Good plot, writing, acting, production values Some hot British birds. A ton of blood and gore. Holy shit. Tons of creepy atmosphere...

Why can't we have a Zombie TV Show like this here in the U.S.?
Episode 2- (23 minutes) The rest of the episodes from here on out are short ones. This episode deals with the housemates coming to terms with what's happening and trying to figure out what to do about it. This episode maintains the feeling of dread and panic created in the first one, and has all the trappings of a familiar Zombie story. Good stuff.  

If only all Big Brother contestants would die like this, we'd actually watch the show.
Episode 3- (24 minutes) Some of the housemates make a run for medical supplies to help another who has been bitten. The gay guy blows it in this one! I'll shut up so as not to spoil it... Also, I really liked the shower scene, although the creepy-perv housemate made me feel dirty about it... And damn, using the bathroom while trapped in a tiny room with a hot chick is seriously nasty... This series isn't getting any less violent or bloody. Or gross. Or creepy. Or good.

Attractive Zombies confuse our penises.
Episode 4- (24 minutes) "What would you have done if there was one of those things in there?" "Outrun you." I love it.  

Episode 5- (25 minutes) This is the last episode, and I won't say anything about it so as not to ruin what happens, but I will say that you should ALWAYS KILL THE ASSHOLE. Holy hell is this show violent.  
"You wot m8?"
This was an excellent 2+ hours of Zombie mayhem; it was well acted, well made, absolutely gory and horrific, tense, full of dread, and above all else, it was fun. Dead Set was released on Region 2 DVD on November 3rd, and if you love anything Zombie related, you must check it out.


Dead Set is available now on All-Region DVD.

Jaime Winstone is way hot in this...or anything, for that matter.


  1. Yeah this show rocks so hard. Although the 5 parts cut it down too short for me. I could so see the potential for a Zombie survival horror show. Like a 'Heroes' for the horror fans...

    If I had read this review before I'd seen the show, id be having an aneurysm right now.

  2. Dead Set was pure class. I'm a long time fan of the writer Charlie Brooker. His Channel4 tv show with Chris Morris 'Nathan Barley' was a hoot. Top line from NB... "Does the pope fuck kids?" as opposed to 'Do bears shit in the woods?' Legend.
    Back to Dead Set, when asked why do the dead come to the Big Brother house, (Dawn with the mall). "This place was like a church to them" LOLLOLandmoreFUCKINGLOL, so true. BB is like tv crack to some over here.
    Btw...the first zombie you see chewing someone behind the car is my mate Dave Malaney' from work (Royal Mail, Bristol). I even got him to sign a dvd cover for a Spanish friend. Fame beckons...he's a regular extra on Dr Who too.!

  3. As someone who used to live in the UK, I can say that yes - we do allow ANYTHING on TV, the only thing that's not been allowed is 'an erect penis' and 'open vaginas'. I am not even kidding - although Channel 4 and Living TV have found ways around showing these. ANYWAY,

    I loved Dead Set. Davina, who appears in it, is actually the host of the real Big Brother show back in England and she was a good sport offering to act in this. It was SO gory, and I loved how the characters didn't make it to some stupid Disney-styled happy ending.

    - Zac

  4. I can't wait to get this one on DVD.