Panic at Rock Island (2011)

I don’t know what just happened. I really don’t. The plot, as it seemed to me, is that a virus has been unleashed upon a music event at Sydney… And that’s it.

Panic is Channel Nine’s attempt to cross the genres of biological horror and festival movie. As much time is spent watching You Am I perform, as there is watching Vince Colosimo pretend he’s in an episode of Spooks or CSI. There’s also Grant Bowler running around shouting into a mobile phone no real apparent reason..

In fact, shouting seems to be order of the day. The crowd shout, the crowd that are infected shout, the people looking at the crowd shouting shout, the police shout… Hell, it even ends with someone shouting.

Is there any fun to be taken from the film? Well, you can play spot the cliche, but even that’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

People walk past iconic locations for no apparent reason in an attempt to sell the film overseas – Check.

Mysterious SWAT team appear to keep crowd control – Check.

Crowd rebel against mysterious SWAT team – Check.

SWAT team shoot crowd to show they weren’t joking about keeping crowd control – Check.

Politicians fail to take action despite the overwhelming evidence that shows people are being killed by a virus – Check.

Protagonist’s family end up somehow getting involved in the disaster – Check, check and triple check.

And it’s so cheap. Okay, telemovies as a rule tend to be pretty cheap. However, if you’re trying to save money don’t set your film at a rock music festival. Watching the director trying to hide the fact that there are 20 rather 1,000 people at festival is embarrassing for all involved.

The ending suggests that there could be a spin off series or sequel and we can only pray to everything that is pure and good that it never happens.


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