December 8, 2021

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[Review] Is Reality Z on Netflix worth a look?

Between Secret Story and The Walking Dead, a new Netflix series plunges us into the heart of a zombie apocalypse where reality TV characters are locked out of the world. The Brazilian adaptation of Dead Set, Reality Z tries to explore the confinement theme. Was this series a success?

Zombies on Netflix have become commonplace. The platform continues to add genre titles to its catalog, but success is not always there. This time around, Reed Hasting’s company is relying on the Brazilian adaptation of Charlie Brooker’s (Black Mirror) series, Dead Set, to enrich its offerings. As chaos runs rampant in a Brazilian city, the film set Olympo becomes the Eldorado of all survivors.

A merciless war begins to endure in a world where each represents a danger to the other. If on paper Reality Z has it all, its implementation is not free from flaws. In the first episode, the situation escalates rapidly and viewers find themselves lost in an often-unreadable flow of action. From the very first minute of the real stakes of this intrigue, candidates unaware of what is happening outside, are tamed to make way for a flood of bloody fights. and frankly bleeding. Sometimes it’s the same, the series surprises us with its ambitious but uneven realizations. Some scenes are worth seeing.

Instead of being drawn to the confinement theme, the Netflix series prefers to embark on an awkward satire about image society. We won’t have enough fingers on our hands to count the number of cliches of the kind that follow each other on the screen. From the idiot candidate who cries every time his cellmate blows gas, to the taciturn character who conveys a few philosophical thoughts throughout the conversation, to the playboy who thinks of himself as Lucky Luke, Reality Z doesn’t miss any chance to let us down. If the initial premise is interesting enough, the series falters in the course of the story.

The first three episodes were exhausting, but the situation seems to improve in the fourth episode. As the series tries to introduce political thought to its narrative, the skies are clear. In a country marked by severe social inequality, the story seems to be filled with new messages. In the end, it is no longer the fight against the ghouls that interests us, but the social struggle that begins. But then again, this series was less than smooth and the results didn’t quite live up to our expectations. There’s still a desire to know the ending reserved for the characters, which for some are endearing.

What’s more on the casting side, this click is good enough even though the script is bad and the lines are bland. The main character played by Ana Hartmann is very charming, as is João Pedro Zappa. The Brazilian actor has received critical acclaim for his performance in Fellipe Barbosa’s film Gabriel and the Mountain. But ultimately what Reality Z lacks is Charlie Brooker’s talent for portraying society. That’s why we prefer to start watching Dead Set, in just five episodes. As for Reality Z, it’s not yet known if the adventure will continue. Netflix has not provided any information about a possible update, or not.