Doomwatch (1972)

PG   |    |  Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

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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8 May 2017 | Hey_Sweden
| An honorable attempt at a message movie.
This feature film version of the British TV series of the same name uses some of the actors from the show, while adding Ian Bannen and the lovely young Judy Geeson for name value. Bannen stars as Del Shaw, a doctor with the title department of the government. They investigate effects of pollution on the environment. Del is sent to Balfe, an island community where the locals go out of their way to NOT make him welcome. What's more, chemical dumping in an off limits area has affected the fish in the waters and subsequently the islanders that have eaten them. In addition to being surly and violent, they fall victim to acromegaly as well.

Overall, this is a reasonably absorbing story, but pay no attention to false advertising. This is NOT a horror film, but more of a drama that tries to play things in a somewhat realistic manner. Thrills and suspense are minimal. The makeup effects are decent, but you don't see much of them until the end. The story is pretty simple, and straightforward, with clear cut villains and heroes. Actually, it tends to work better when Bannen's not around. The supporting characters are fine, but Del is a rather ridiculous guy, and Bannens' performance is not one of his better ones. He tends to shout his lines, and overreact.

Geeson has some appeal as a schoolteacher who is something of an outsider herself, and wants to maintain her relations with these superstitious and religious islanders. John Paul (Dr. Quist), Simon Oates (Dr. Ridge), and Joby Blanshard (Bradley) all come from the series, and they do alright. George Sanders is the special guest star, with Percy Herbert ("One Million Years B.C."), Shelagh Fraser ("Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope"), Geoffrey Keen (who appeared in four of the James Bond adventures), Norman Bird ("Cash on Demand"), and James Cosmo ("Trainspotting") all providing solid support.

"Doomwatch" scores some marks for good intentions, and for ending in a believable enough manner.

Six out of 10.

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