The Head (3 stars)

The Head

A highly watchable whodunnit that might leave you furious when you discover who dunnit, why and how

If you happened to be stuck for six months with a few other hardy souls in an isolated Antarctic research station, what's the last film you'd sit down to watch as a group? That's right, the ultra-scary and uber-gory 1982 remake of The Thing. But that's precisely the movie which a multinational gang of gallant scientists, engineers and cooks have chosen for movie-night as they prepare to spend half a year away from friends, family and most of civilisation. For sure, this is another seismic metaphor of our pandemic times, but also just one of several dozen choices made by the characters here which range from the improbable to the downright daft. But as most of the frankly ludicrous actions of one character in particular are revealed in the final flashback sequences of this six-part whodunnit, they shall remain under wraps.

After a communications blackout, a rescue crew heads to the station (Polaris VI) only to find most of the team there either dead or missing. The parka-clad cavalry is helmed by Johan (Alexandre Willaume), a rugged Kurt Russell type whose wife Annika (Laura Bach) is among those no longer to be found at the base. From here, the tale is told mainly through the perspective of Maggie (Katharine O'Donnelly), a young doctor who the rescuers find in a small cupboard, terrified and clutching a big knife. Sadly, though, she's suffering from Polar T3, a syndrome merging psychosis and memory loss, and it takes a while (half an episode) for her to start piecing together the awful events which occurred.

As the mystery unfolds, it's clear some members of the team have serious personal issues with one other, resentments exploding into fisticuffs, and soon, much worse. The Head is bingeable fare with not so much cliffhangers, but reasonably fascinating questions to end each episode. That denouement may well have the audience doubting much of what is shown and told, and your ability to suspend disbelief will be the key to how you respond when the case is solved. Acceptance or rage are your two likely destinations.

Starzplay, Sundays; episode one available now.

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