The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Thursday, 8 January 2009


Watched Dead Set on Channel 4 last night. I’d not bothered with it on E4 because I’m a busy man and I don’t have time to bother with any channels beyond BBC 4.

Part one was rather fun. Part two I lost interest, because the story had ground to a halt. Which tends to be a fundamental flaw with zombie films – the exciting part is always going to be the opening act. After that it’s like watching somebody else play a particularly gruesome video game, trying to manoeuvre characters from A to B whilst avoiding/shooting at lurching monstrosities. Until eventually they’re all dead or some American soldiers turn up to rescue them.

The writing was okay, though – possibly I’d read something or possibly because of Charlie Brooker’s involvement – I’d expected there to be some element of satire or comedy. And there were neither. It was all played straight. It didn’t seem to be setting out to satirise reality TV; it just used it as a setting.

But what really struck me was how beautifully lit it all was. I mean, like far too much TV now, it was graded to within an inch of its life using a combination of Spooks Bosnian Flashback Grey #3 and Apparitions Exorcism Green #2. But it looked fantastic. Despite being filmed in HD, which tends to limit camera movement and make everything look flat and murky.

My one thumbs-down, though, is for the use of internet-sought volunteers to act as extras. Either you budget to pay professional supporting artists or you cut the crowd scenes. I mean, why stop there? Why not save on your catering budget by putting out an email saying ‘Hey, if you fancy coming along to the filming, why not bring us a sandwich and a mug of hot tea?’

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