Threads Review

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A microcosmic view of Britain after Nuclear bombs hit


Forget The Exorcist, The Shining, and those consistent inclusions on the top ten scariest films of all time - this British work of (technically) science fiction teaches an unforgettable lesson in true horror.

Threads is most successful by its merciless refusal of sentimentality - every second is played for realism; this is a documentary of a nightmare, as we are taken, via a young unmarried couple, through a nuclear strike on Sheffield circa 1984, and beyond.

We see the moment of contact, and then event plus one hour, one day, one week, etc. Life as we know it ends, and any remaining facets of normal existence fall away over time. The entire gamut of potential subsequent disasters is taken into account, from the underestimation of necessary supplies, to the failure of future crops, to the blinding of most of the population from cataracts when the clouds of nuclear winter finally part. And we'll spare you the really bad stuff.

Proof positive that if the idea and execution of a film is solid, budget need not be a restriction, this made for TV production scrapes by, trying to create an almost impossible illusion on clearly paltry funds. While it may not always succeed (these moments will be obvious), it's so damned potent as a whole that any creaky bits are easily forgivable.

The title refers to the tenuous strands that hold the fabric of society together, and while it paints a convincingly detailed picture of that era's biggest threat, it's possible to superimpose any potential humanitarian catastrophe effecting the first world today (terrorism, pick-a-border-dispute, even the events following New Orleans flood), and watch the failure of humankind. In this respect, Jackson's film remains entirely relevant, and wholly unsettling – nay - absolutely fucking terrifying.

Horrifying, moving and powerful. Watch it by yourself, late at night and never sleep again. Not a good date movie.