This BBC production bears the provocative subtitle Island of the Ghouls. Sounds promising, right? There's a sense in the first act of Doomwatch with its grey tone and suspicious lurkings-about that we may be watching something like The Wicker Man but with an even better grip on the bat. Check the premise: a government official heads to an isolated British Isle to study the effects of a recent oil tanker disaster. He's greeted with scowls and downright nastiness from the islanders. As he uncovers their dark secrets, the situation comes to a shocking head...
Fuck yeah. Whatever she's looking at with her wide, blue eyes must be pretty bad. You're killing it Doomwatch! Go for it!
Yeah! That's right! She's got Nukeface all up in her grill. Terrifying, Doomwatch. Yes!
And then one minute later...
Nukeface is sitting down and crying?
No. Stop it, Nukeface. You were one of the stars of what was turning into some promising horror cinema and now you're sobbing? With your wife putting a sympathetic hand on your shoulder? What's happening?
[50P rummages around for Netflix sleeve]
"A pollution expert travels to a remote island to study the effects of radiation, and there meets a strange and mysterious race of people...Doomwatch explores a frightening world of mutated lifeforms and murderous monsters..."
That *totally* sounds like horror to me.
[50P logs onto Netflix.]
Okay, still confused. The genre listing totally says horror -- in fact, it says it four different ways.
So it's misfiled. It should rightfully be filed under "Sci-Fi Thriller", but I guess the synopsis writer got a little trigger happy with "murderous monsters", and the genre labeler ran with it. Honest mistake.
Doomwatch labors through the "Sci" part of its Sci-Fi. I don't say this to be disparaging. In fact, at its most laborious, it feels not unlike The Andromeda Strain, or a boring episode of House. The science is attentive, and the performances have some effort behind them. The suspense does get ratcheted up pretty well as we approach the climax -- it's just that it all peters out into an explanation, and like nobody dies. It's watchable, but you're really only going to want to rent it if you're ready for a whole lot of this.