IFC’s zombie-themed Dead
plays more like a reality series than
a horror flick — although fans of both
will find something to like.

The campy five-parter, which aired
in the U.K. last year, begins on the set
of a Big Brother-esque reality show, in
which an ensemble of stereotypically
overbearing reality “stars” are shacked
up together, cameras following their
every move.

Watching and filming the reality
show are an equally obnoxious producer
and an overworked, young female
intern. The first half of Dead Set’s
premiere episode could be mistaken
for a reality-show parody, except that
it’s soon revealed virtually everyone
outside of the studio walls is a living
zombie with a voracious appetite for
human flesh.

Writer/director Charles Brooker
leaves nothing to the imagination as
these aggressive zombies quickly devour
all but a few of the show’s crew
in very graphic fashion. All that’s left
are the young intern, the producer, a
spoiled reality star recently kicked off
the show — and, of course, the remaining
cast members, who are oblivious to
the chaos around them.

When they realize the cameras
aren’t working and open the studio
door, they’re met by a ravenous zombie.
He takes a bite of a female star’s
leg before getting his head bashed in
with a fire extinguisher by the scaredbut-
emboldened intern.
There’s enough gore and zombie
mayhem to keep horror fans watching,
and enough drama and humor to keep
non-squeamish causal viewers engaged.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.