generation z

Ben Wheatley, director of Kill ListHigh-Rise and more, is setting his sights on the zombie subgenre – with a political twist. Wheatley’s Generation Z is being described as a “Brexit-themed zombie drama” which will run for six episodes. The plot involves a retirement home full of zombie baby boomers, and that’s really all you need to say to sell us on this thing.

One thing you can say about Ben Wheatley’s projects: they’re never boring. Wheatley’s work is an acquired taste, but if you’re on his same weirdo wavelength, you’re in for a treat. Wheatley’s latest is a TV series called Generation Z, which was ordered by the UK’s Channel 4. Deadline has a somewhat lengthy synopsis of what viewers can expect:

The future looks bleak for today’s youth – seemingly-endless austerity, astronomical house prices, insurmountable student debt, a political system which appears intent on destroying itself… And to add insult to injury, their hard-earned taxes are being eaten up by the old – smug, self-satisfied, small-minded, “Little Englander” pensioners whose remaining sole purpose in life is to make it a misery for everyone else.

In a small British town, tensions come to a head when a mysterious military convoy crashes outside the Sunnywise Retirement Home. The vehicles were carrying a toxic substance, which, as a result of the crash, leaks into the local environment and infects the residents of the retirement community. The symptoms of this infection quickly manifest – an overwhelming appetite for raw flesh. They’re old, they’re angry and they’re on the rampage. As the military scrambles to control the outbreak and keep everything out of the media spotlight, a group of regular teenagers find themselves in the thick of the battle against these flesh-eating baby boomers.

Regarding Generation Z, Caroline Hollick, the Head of Drama at Channel 4, said: “Ben is a unique creative force, and I’m delighted that he’s bringing this hilarious, frightening and political horror series to Channel 4. I can’t wait to see him transform the zombie genre into something both outrageous and cannily perceptive.”

Wheatley added: “I’m excited to be working with Channel 4 and [producer] The Forge. Generation Z is my first original created TV project and I couldn’t think of better partners.”

I’m sure someone, somewhere is out there bemoaning a political-tinged zombie project, but social commentary and zombie entertainment go hand-in-hand. George Romero’s prototypical Night of the Living Dead series was overflowing with such commentary. In other words, think before you complain.

Beyond Generation Z, Wheatley’s next film is a remake of Rebecca headed to Netflix.

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