released 20 June 1972 | 12 | Blu-ray Director Peter sasdy Cast Ian Bannen, Judy Geeson, John Paul, simon Oates, Jean Trend
It’s been quite the annus mirabilis for fans of Doomwatch, the prescient ’70s TV series about a government department investigating ecological disasters. Swift on the heels of April’s box set release of every surviving episode, here’s a belated HD release for the movie spin-off made by British studio Tigon.
Ian Bannen plays a scientist sent to a remote island to investigate the possible effects of pollution on marine life. Instead he discovers a disturbing epidemic, which is deforming the residents of Balfe and leaving them prone to violence.
Early on the signs are quite promising, with the island setting, the uncooperative locals (who believe the sickness is “the will of the Almighty”), the dogged Scottish lead, his relationship with a young female teacher, and a soundtrack featuring pastoral flutes all coming together to create a strong Wicker Man vibe. However, the film becomes increasingly frustrating.
For one thing, for fans of the series it’s pretty galling to see the TV cast sidelined in favour of with every dreary, plodding detail of the investigation played out in front of us to pad the running time – not only well beyond the point where it becomes blindingly obvious what’s going on, but past the point where you cease to care.
Extras None. Ian Berriman
The pacing is mercilessly, punishingly slow
Fancy visiting the main location? The island of Balfe is actually Cornish village Polkerris, four miles from the Eden Project.
Karl always overdressed in the summer.