Monday, 9 September 2013


watch blackout on 4oD

Pace Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity, Channel 4’s Blackout is the best found-footage film I’ve seen, and all the more scary because of its feasibility.

The last blackouts to affect Great Britain were in 1972, during the Miners’ Strike. They were only in the evenings, but memories were still strong enough to see Edward Heath’s government voted out when he called an election over the strikes in 1974.

In Blackout the outage lasts for a week, literally 24/7, and by day 2 social order is breaking down. For me the central character is a DIY enthusiast who borders on what in the US would be called a "prepper", an individual who stocks food and supplies in case of an emergency entailing social breakdown. What our man seems to have overlooked is a stock of what across the Pond would be common sense: in such a breakdown you don’t just need supplies, you need the wherewithal to protect them.

Danse Macabre: clikc for reviews
In his non-fiction book Danse Macabre, horrormeister Stephen King concludes that horror films – and Blackout was very chilling – reflect the preoccupations of society at that time. Thus Them and the Godzilla movies reflected fears around nuclear warfare, while The Exorcist and The Omen came out at times of anxieties caused by youth uprisings.

I think King’s take on Blackout would be that it reflects, pretty obviously, fears about the fragility of our social fabric. However, King would also look at other meanings of the title: information blackout, say, as in the dearth of knowledge we have about how many people are actually in our country and how our money is really being spent at home and abroad; and blackout of consciousness, whereby our unelected establishment chooses not to be mindful of the abuses perpetrated by its favoured communities.

Watch Blackout – and be scared.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Watch Blackout on 4oD

Go to the Channel 4 homepage for Blackout


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