Doomwatch (1972)

PG   |    |  Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller


Doomwatch (1972) Poster

The waters surrounding an island become contaminated by chemical dumping, and people who eat fish caught in those waters become deformed and violent.

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5.4/10
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  • Doomwatch (1972)
  • Geoffrey Keen in Doomwatch (1972)
  • Jim O'Brady in Doomwatch (1972)
  • Doomwatch (1972)
  • Doomwatch (1972)
  • Doomwatch (1972)

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2 August 2005 | junk-monkey
This movie is nowhere near as good as it thinks it is.
Sent to take some routine measurements and samples from a small island Dr. Del Shaw (a clunker of a name) finds himself surrounded by the stock British movie type locals who mutter lines like: "We Don't take too kindly to strangers pokin' their noses in other people's affairs in these parts" before going off to mutter ominously in small groups.

The Villagers obviously Have Something To Hide. And, after a lot of shouting down the island's only telephone, and trips to London to offend stiff military types, Doctor Del and the Doomwatch team discover the seas around the island are teaming with huge fish stuffed to the gills with illegally dumped human Pituitary growth hormone which is causing the island's population to develop an unpronounceable disease.

Medical help is sent to the island and (potentialy) destroys the very community it went there to help.

The plot of this film is full of holes. No more so, maybe, than any other film. But because of the total lack of tension and interest developed in what should be a terrible and horrifying situation they stand out like sore thumbs.

Are we expected to believe for instance that Geeson's character (the school mistress) hasn't noticed one of her pupils has vanished? What the hell kind of spooky radiation "makes gas" in sealed containers of growth hormone. Would Human hormones make zooplankton grow to unusually large size - I doubt it; I can buy it having an affect on mammals but not microscopic plankton. Why does the fisherman from the mainland only sell his fish to the islanders? etc. etc. I know these sound like little nit-picky questions but when you are trying to make a intelligent piece, like the makers of this film obviously tried to do, you need to fill these logical gaps. When the screen is full of Naked Flesh eating Vanpire Lesbian Zombies riding Harleys you can let the odd solecism go by but when you are watching one driven man trying to solve a scientific mystery you've got to expect the audience to be more critical.

The ending of this film should have been heartbreaking as the islanders pack up and leave for the mainland, their way of life destroyed by uncaring corporations, and then by the people who try to clean up the mess. But it isn't. The fault lies I suspect with the direction. The script is not good - structurally it's a mess, with the 'mystery' solved half way through, the story has nowhere else to go and just flops about as Bannon tries to organise a town meeting.

Ian Bannen is a useful actor but here he just gives a very one note performance alternating, for the most part, between 'Angry' and 'Very Angry'. Again I suspect shoddy direction.

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Genres

Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller

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