The small quaint US town of Chester’s Mill is about to get a fright as a large transparent dome descends on the village, isolating them from the outside world. An adaptation from Stephen King’s 2009 best selling novel, airing every Monday at 22.00 on Channel 5.
The village appears quaint and friendly, but we’re not kept in the dark for long. A body in a duffle bag falls onto screens, along with an aggressively protective boyfriend and a dodgy sheriff involved in stocking up on propane canisters. The town seems to harbour a lot of secrets and this becomes apparent before the dome even makes an entrance. As the dome appears, it is instantly dangerous, after vibrations that look like a weak earthquake; the dome slices a cow in half. A bloody affair that gives audiences the gritty gore that is never scarce in Stephen King novels.
We’re introduced to a number of characters, but it isn’t clear who our hero is. The one guy, who introduces himself as ‘Barbie’ commits an act of foul play at the beginning and reaches for a gun as a cop car passes. Yet, he saves a teenage boy from a falling aeroplane and is the first to act on the dome’s presence. We don’t know who to trust, it could all be a misunderstanding. The struggling paranoia of the villagers seemed strained pre-dome, so the added isolation has secrets bubbling to the service. Under the Dome is a combination of the King uneasiness and the mysterious horror from ‘Village of the Damned’.
There are a number of deaths and injuries caused by the dome as its descent severs limbs and tears through houses. The people on either side cannot hear each other; they can only communicate through writing. The villagers conclude that the US government must be involved and that thought eases the tension. However, that tension quickly restores as the people of Chester’s Mill realise they are trapped. Not everyone is panicking as the children, whose parents are the other side of the dome, take to the streets for a party. When people touch the dome for the first time they are given a small electric shock. Yet, two of the teenagers in the village collapse appearing to have a seizure, rambling about stars and lines.
By the end we have a good sense of the characters. Although the cast is a bit American twee, I can see their pretty appearance disappearing into the ugly secrets. At least there are 12 more episodes for the story to develop and someone, anyone to ask questions about the dome. Please ignore everything you learned from The Simpson’s Movie and enjoy this Stephen King classic for what is it – horrific fun.