Derren Brown’s ‘Apocalypse’ Convinces Man of Real Life Zombies
So, you might be enjoying season 3 of The Walking Dead right now, but imagine waking up in a hospital ward marked ‘bio hazard’ to find yourself in exactly that kind of situation – for real. Well, that’s exactly what seemed to happen to 21-year-old Steven in Derren Brown’s Apocalypse, which aired in the UK last Friday.
To everyone watching, it was a carefully-engineered plan involving a lot of actors, people he knew, and even hacking into Steven’s phone; but as far as Steven was concerned, he actually was in an apocalypse-style situation, with much of the population dead, and the living having succumbed to some frightening zombie virus. The show is airing in two parts, the second to be shown in the UK this week.
If you haven’t heard of Derren Brown before, where have you been? He’s a tricksy fellow, and just a little bit frightening with the power he seems to exude from every pore. Brown has played these kind of tricks before, and it always gets people talking – but this time, has he gone too far?
After all, Steven could easily have turned and killed one of the actors playing a zombie – what was there to stop him? Brown justified this by stating that Steven was being monitoring carefully at every step of the game, to ensure his mental health and overall wellbeing.
The first episode started by taking a look into Steven’s life, and explaining that the young chap took a lot of things for granted. He lives with his parents who feel underappreciated, can never stick to a job, and has the bedroom of a teenager. Brown explained how he wanted to show how one would act if all that was suddenly taken away, bringing up the Roman philosopher Seneca, who truly believed the only way to realize the value of what you have is to regularly imagine the worst that could happen… So, he actually made the worst happen, for poor Steven.
And that’s what really made it so entertaining to watch. Not only do you feel sorry for the guy – his terrified face, as everyone else is in on the joke – but his reactions were just fascinating. At one point he’s chased into an ambulance by a bunch of zombies, and hides while the driver tries to get away – without running any of the zombie actors over as Steven crouches in the back, utterly petrified. Incredible viewing, as you ponder all the way through “is Brown really doing this?” – Indeed, he was.
It’s been speculated that Steven was actually an actor who was in on the whole thing, but Brown’s website has answered a Q&A denying that Steven knew anything about it. It’s not the first time Brown’s been accused of cheating, either – and it probably won’t be the last. He’s guessed lottery numbers, played live Russian Roulette, hypnotised a member of the public into thinking they had to assassinate Stephen Fry, conducted fake séances with surprising results… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
As for what Brown’s next stunt will be, one can only guess, but in the meantime, we’ve got part 2 of Apocalypse to look forward to on Friday.