Black Summer was a recommendation from a friend and what I found was a totally gripping show which has brought a whole new lease of life to the zombie genre. I guess comparing this to other shows like The Walking Dead is unavoidable but for me it’s a very different take on the whole zombie apocalypse scenario. It’s fast paced, relentless and filled with violence and brutality. It just has a completely real feel to it which left me making plans for my escape route incase this becomes a real life event (I’m convinced it’s going to happen).
The way this series is filmed is almost point of view. At times you feel very much caught up in the action, which adds heaps to the viewing experience as you get lost in the drama. There are also elements to it which make it feel like your playing a game similar to The Last Of Us at home on your PlayStation. Scenes are replayed so you can see various cast members reacting to the same situation and I really liked this element. The most noticeable cast member is Jaime King and while the main story which plays out revolves around her personal mission, this in no way places her as the central character. The cast is impeccable. No one is safe and characters you assume are in it for the long haul are gone within the blink of an eye and not even thought about again.
Episode 4 stands out in my mind as the most exhilarating. It centres on a character called Lance played by Kelsey Flower, and is basically 40 minutes of a man forced into survival mode. I don’t think I even breathed throughout this episode, I was so engrossed in what was being played out and genuinely screamed at the tv a few times. I’d have to place Lance as my favourite. I must also mention Christine Lee who plays Sun. Only speaking Korean, it’s incredible to see Sun’s journey and the things she’s forced to do. There is a main group of characters who find themselves brought together but I’m going to stop myself from mentioning any of the others individually as I’ll end up in spoiler territory and I don’t want to take any of the enjoyment away from anyone reading this who hasn’t watched it. However, each person plays a crucial part and with little or no backstories it’s a compliment to the writing and acting that you still develop a fondness for them.
The zombies themselves are un-relenting and seem unstoppable for the most part. For starters they run – pretty fast – which makes you panic even more when watching them. In Black Summer, death means that person instantly turns into a zombie. There’s literally no time for goodbyes or tears – you need to turn the hell around and run for your life. They don’t walk around in herds with their arms out in front of them, moaning. They are everywhere and they are terrifying.
Black Summer takes us from the beginnings of a zombie outbreak and tells a story of how people adapt to live in a new world filled with fear. It’s filmed beautifully and many scenes appear like seamless single takes. There are huge periods of no dialogue and the music in the background compliments the feeling of despair, silence and loneliness. It’s the epitome of edge of your seat viewing. We see people like you and me forced into unimaginable situations, propositioned with the age old fight or flight ultimatum.