The main character is Rick, a former small town police officer who was gunned down and put in a coma. He wakes up to find the hospital deserted and his town filled with walkers, which has to take the record for the most disorientating way to come out of a coma that I can remember seeing on TV. He eventually finds a group of survivors, including his wife and son, and the story focuses on their attempts to find somewhere safe to bunker down.
I don’t often get hooked into zombie horror – it can (sometimes) sustain my interest over the length of a 90 minute movie, but anything longer than that strains my interest to breaking point. The Walking Dead was an exception. There is a strong ensemble cast of characters, with excellent acting and great interactions. Main characters get killed off at regular intervals, leaving a “no one is safe” feel which I find appealing.
The show is based off a comic book series of the same name. I’ve never read the comic, so I can’t comment on how true to the original it is. I understand there is a fair bit of divergence at the detailed level, but that the broad story is similar.
The show spends as much time focusing on the breakdown of civilisation as it does on gut wrenching sequences as people attempt to escape from hordes of killer zombies. This kind of exploration of how people react when their comfortable world is ripped away from them is the aspect of dystopian fiction that appeals most to me.
Having said that, this isn’t just a thoughtful philosophical piece that explores a human reaction to crisis. There is gore. Lots of gore. If fact, if you’re the type of person that feels a bit queasy when you see a bit of blood, I strongly suggest you avoid this show. But for those horror fans that don’t mind a disembowelling or two The Walking Dead provides a good combination of physical and psychological horror.
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