I will be talking about a British made for TV movie that you probably never heard about called Threads from 1984. I had never heard or read anything about this film before recently getting a recommendation to watch it from a friend of mine… and boy did this movie not disappoint. Threads is a docudrama made by BBC, exploring the disturbing output of what could happen if the Cold War had actually set off a nuclear war in the 80’s.. Threads are set in the city of Sheffield where we follow different citizens before, during and after the war has taken place.
What we see is the downfall of modern society and the long, hard road of attempting to put it back together to what it once was. Threads are the most depressive “what if” movie I have seen. In the 1980’s, the fear of a nuclear war breaking out was the main cause of plenty of justified paranoia. This movie takes that fear from within you and increases its tenfold. It is such a bleak, depressing look into what our society could become just because we are at times unable to get along with each other due to different cultures and power-hungry leaders.
Even though I am a product of the 80’s, I was too young at the time to worry about war and all of that stuff, but my god after watching Threads I sat in my chair shocked and filled with fear that this could actually become reality at some point… and if you do start to think about you will realize that the possibility of a nuclear war breaking out might be just as possible today as it was thirty years ago.
The movie has been described as a docudrama as it doesn’t follow one set of characters through their struggles, but rather jumps from characters to characters whenever it feels necessary and it actually works quite well as all the characters represent different generations of people, making you identify with some and look at others like your parents, grandparents, siblings and even children. It hits you right in the soul when you see the struggles some of these people have to go through during the nearly two hours-long running times.
There is also some narration done through typewriting entering the screen to inform us how far we have jumped in time or to display grueling facts regarding what’s going on. Add to all of this the restrained television look with the low use of music score and Threads gives you such a realistic feel that it becomes hard not to be disturbed by all of the events that are taking place on the screen. Even if it is a low budget movie compared to theatrically released films, they sure used their money correctly. There was a lot of effort into creating the post-apocalyptic feel with plenty of trash, destruction and awfully realistic corpses laying around in the gritty remains of Sheffield. It does not shy away from showing the absolute worst and most shocking details to the point where I am shocked that this film isn’t more known by horror fans over the world.
The film is cleverly written by Barry Haines and it is written from the perspective of the common man. The dividing of class becomes a bigger part throughout the movie and is yet another scary thought of how divided our society could end up if a disaster like this were to happen. The cast is filled with all unknown actors, at least to me, and that’s the best way to go when it comes to a movie that attempts to take you out of the cinematic comfort zone and instead sell you on realism. If you are interested in Threads then there is a British DVD out at a decent price. It is basically the same as a VHS transfer, but this is a film that won’t improve by having a cleaner transfer.
I do wish that there were some extras to it though as everything from behind the scenes stuff to its impact could be greatly discussed by people involved in the production to people that just became affected by it. Thread is an incredible movie that I am sure will be my biggest discovery of 2017. It finds like this that makes me happy as a movie fan as it confirms that there still are gems out there to be found. Or perhaps I’ve just lived under a rock and everyone else knew about the greatness of this film but for me, oh well. Thread is a masterpiece of a film that gets to you and will leave you sitting and pondering about life and humanity once the movie is over. Threads get a deserving 5 out of 5. A fun fact about the film is that it was shown to high school students in Britain in the 80’s.
I can’t imagine how shocking and horrifying that experience must have been for the youngsters at the time as it is sure as hell would have fuc*ed me up at that age. I’m gonna guess that the only way any of you have seen this is if you’re from Britain right? I’m curious to hear what anyone else’s thoughts on this is and if it affected you as much as it did me. And what other movies would you recommend that are in the same vein as Threads? Let me know about it in the comment section below.