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Doomwatch (1972)

PG  |   |  Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  January 1976 (USA)
5.4
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 518 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 16 critic

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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(series "Doomwatch"), (series "Doomwatch"), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Dr. Shaw
...
Victoria Brown
...
Dr. Quist
Simon Oates ...
Dr. Ridge
Jean Trend ...
Joby Blanshard ...
Bradley
...
The Admiral
...
Hartwell
Shelagh Fraser ...
Mrs. Straker
Geoffrey Keen ...
Sir Henry Leyton
Joseph O'Conor ...
Vicar
Norman Bird ...
Brewer
Constance Chapman ...
Miss Johnson
Michael Brennan ...
Tom Straker
...
Bob Gillette
Edit

Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A new terror! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

January 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Island of the Ghouls  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on a BBC TV series in production, it uses four of the regulars from the show but largely sidelines them in featured roles, having a new character played by Ian Bannen as the lead alongside Judy Geeson's local schoolteacher, who aids him on Balfe. See more »

Connections

Followed by Doomwatch: Winter Angel (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Village Of The Doomed!
2 August 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Doomwatch is directed by Peter Sasdy and adapted to screenplay by Clive Exton from the TV series written by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis. Ian Bannen, Judy Geeson, John Paul, Simon Oates, Jean Trend, Joby Blanshard, George Sanders, Percy Herbert, Shelagh Fraser and Geoffrey Keen. Music is by John Scott and cinematography by Kenneth Talbot.

An environmental research agency known as "Doomwatch" sends Dr. Dell Shaw (Bannen) to the Cornish Island of Balfe to research the effects of an oil spill. Once there Dell finds the villagers on the island are hostile and secretive and it soon becomes apparent that something is very amiss on the island.

Inbreeding and Immorality?

Doomwatch has its problems, with some average acting and logic holes the size of the Moon, but its highlights far outweigh the flaws. Mixing environmental concerns with sci-fi horrors, even though Doomwatch is not a horror film as such, it's a film that boasts a credible script and high interest value with its mystery.

Essentially the narrative is split into two parts. The first part of the film is suitably eerie. Once Dr. Shaw arrives on the island there's a sense of doom enveloping the place. The inhabitants act oddly suspicious and the makers introduce distorted angles to emphasise the fact that something is badly wrong here. John Scott's music is perfectly off- kilter and foreboding and with the pace of the story purposely sedate, this allows Sasdy to fill the sense of place with paranoia and creeping unease.

The picture then shifts at the mid-point when the mystery of the island is brought to the surface. We then find ourselves in the middle of a science fiction story wrapped around a heart breaking revelation brought about by corporate idiocy and ecological negligence. Into the mix comes ignorance, be it from the islanders, the church or the mainland authorities. It builds up a head of steam in the last quarter, where passions run high and the final act leaves an impression that's hard to shake off.

Add some lovely location photography around real Cornish locations, and some skillful underwater shots as well, and this definitely has much to recommend. Yes it's dated in that 1970s British independently budgeted way, this is a Tigon production after all! But give it a chance by not expecting a Mutant Wicker Man type horror movie and you may just enjoy it more than you expected. 7.5/10


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