Whose Braaaains Are Next? Ours

I’ve seen enough zombie media to know that there are only ever two outcomes in these types of movies or TV shows: either the characters die, or they become zombies themselves. For example, whenever I watched a long-running zombie show such as The Walking Dead, I would only be interested up to a point, and then I’d give up and stop watching; after all, the show has to end eventually, and realistically no one can survive, so what’s the point of still continuing to watch?

However, when watching Dead Set I somehow hoped for a different outcome (at least for the characters I liked—I have to say I was waiting from episode 1 for Patrick to either be killed off or zombified). But the show is a miniseries with only one season, so it makes sense that all the characters either died as humans or became members of the living dead. I have to say, at the very end of episode 5 when Kelly was in the diary room, I know it was unrealistic, but I still had a shred of hope that she would make it out of the Big Brother House alive. But true to character, this is a show written by Charlie Brooker, who we all know from Black Mirror constantly critiques media culture, and that’s why I was struck by one of the final shots of the series finale: the image of Kelly’s zombie face, covered in blood, staring accusingly at us, the viewers, through multiple television screens.

This is another example of the hypermediation we talked about in class last Wednesday, and it might be too obvious to say so, but this scene really hammers home the media critique theme of the  show by calling attention to the act of looking that we, the viewers, are doing on our own screens, which mirror the television screens in the shot above. This scene seemed to me to be Brooker’s way of turning the message of the show onto the audience and critiquing the way we consume media most of the time: mindlessly. So who’s next to be zombified? Arguably, the audience ourselves.