Directed By: Jonny Campbell
Written By: Dominic Mitchell
Starring: Emily Bevan, Harriet Cains, Steve Cooper and Luke Newberry
Studio: BBC Drama Productionsee
Synopsis: Four years after the Rising, the government starts to rehabilitate the Undead back into the society including teenager Kieren Walker, who returns home to his small Lancashire village to face a hostile reception as well as his own demons. (Source)
The original take on the zombie genre is the main selling point for this mini-series. The idea of science making it possible to “rehabilitate” zombies is a new one but the concept of zombies re-entering society in one form or another is a well worn one that has been touched upon in other movies like DAY OF THE DEAD, FIDO and the recent film WARM BODIES. The main idea behind IN THE FLESH provides an opportunity to be an allegory for everything from homophobia to racism to post traumatic stress disorder.
The small touches that are involved in the undead going back to their lives are really interesting too with things like cover-up makeup and contact lenses to help them look more normal and the therapy sessions the undead were forced to go through that were reminiscent of a drug rehab meeting…all nice tidbits that help make this world seem more real.
The cast all did a really good job too for the most part with Emily Bevan being the stand out as the wild and free-spirited Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS) sufferer, Amy.
While the initially subtle way that the focus of the anti-zombie sentiment was made to be very easily relatable to the anti-gay sentiment that can be seen in today’s society, after a while it began to feel a bit too heavy handed for my taste. Also the two characters in the doomed same sex storyline never really exhibited much romantic chemistry with one another.
The subplot of the shadowy militant pro-PDS group led by the mysterious man known as The Undead Prophet never became fully realized enough for me which was a shame because it was a very intriguing thread that I wanted to see more of.
Final Verdict: An original take on zombies that exhibited a lot of heart and emotion especially when considering the subject matter. While there were areas that were lacking and a few places where I would have liked to have seen more time spent, the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse as shown in IN THE FLESH is one that I would very much like to see more of and hopefully the BBC will give this inventive property another series to explore more of this world.