Enough to make you spew Not even Kiwi talent can save the Oz "event" movie that is Panic at Rock Island, says Deborah Hill Cone.
We all have our little foibles. Some people don't like spiders or heights or public speaking. Personally, I don't like vomiting. And being embarrassingly suggestible, I particularly don't like watching other people vomit.
I have kids who get sick from time to time and a dog that will eat anything and once threw up in a hat (really). So when push comes to shove I will deal with vomit if I am forced to. But when there is a choice - when I am planning a relaxing evening's television viewing, say - and I have a chance to watch, well anything really, or someone barfing, I will go for the non-barfing option every time. I'm funny like that.
I appreciate that not everyone shares my neuroses. Maybe if you think the concept of a vomitorium is a hoot, you will be gagging (oops) to watch TV2's new "event" movie Panic at Rock Island. The story is that a mysterious deadly virus strikes at a rock concert on an island in Sydney Harbour.
The virus causes a lot of upchucking, as well as other general bloody grisliness. The virus is a level four biohazard. Any confusion about how deadly that is? "There are only four levels," a microbiologist says in a hushed and weighty tone: "Anthrax is level three."
This Oz telemovie has a great cast of top New Zealand talent including Grant Bowler (Outrageous Fortune), Simone Kessell (Stickmen) and Anna Hutchison (Go Girls). But the real star of the show, I'm afraid to say, is still the power chuck. Bowler stars as the chief medical examiner Jim, who sees the scale of the chunder disaster and struggles to get politicians to do anything. Here's a sample of dialogue: "I don't feel so great." Pause. Vomit.
I suppose even a barf-o-phobe like me could suppress her gag reflex through a film such as Panic at Rock Island if there was going to be a twist that would make the retching worthwhile. There are some music performances from top bands including You Am I and Gin Wigmore. And there is the zombie subtext, as well as a profound theme about the very fragile nature of this thing we call civilisation.
It's just a puddle of spew, innit? The director also made the very excellent crime drama Underbelly, and some of the cast were in that too, which is probably why it seems like extra high quality vomiting. But spewing nonetheless.
Sadly for me and my churny guts, the good bits just didn't seem to justify the effort to keep my dinner down.
* Panic At Rock Island plays on TV2, Tuesday at 8.30pm.
- Herald On Sunday / View