Year Released: 1984
Writer/ Director: Barry Hines/ Mick Jackson
Country/ Language Spoken: UK/ English
IMDb Summary: The effects of a nuclear holocaust on the working class city of Sheffield, England and the eventual long-term effects of nuclear war on civilization.
In September of 1984, British television network BBC (British Broadcasting Coportation) unleashed one of the most unnerving and shocking films to ever be put on screen. What is now a criminally under-seen film since it's release, Threads is now widely available across multiple streaming platforms. The film brings to life the brutal reality and utter devastation, close and far, of nuclear war, leaving next to nothing to the imagination. Proving nearly 40 years later to still be one of the most upsetting and haunting pieces of cinema of all time.
While some may think this is not outright horror based on premise and perhaps more of a war film, or drama, those who may feel skeptical will very soon be met with some of the harshest images and storyline in modern cinema. We are brought into the film with growing tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union as the Soviets begin an invasion in Iran, escalating tensions and heightened fears among citizens and government workers day by day. Not long after the nuclear bomb is dropped and all hell breaks loose, casting light on the upmost horrors of a nuclear blast, fall out, and collapse of civilization.
Portrayed in a gritty fashion we are soon to be pummeled scene to scene with the abhorrent devastation and merciless reality of what such an attack would have, pulling absolutely zero punches. Showing the deaths of countless people of varying ages, women, elderly, children, infants, the film leaves absolutely no safety net for anyone at all. Especially following one of our main characters, Ruth, as she hunkers down with her family, without her new fiance, who has just found out she is pregnant. Immediately you are flooded with the dread of knowing how difficult and terrifying her journey into motherhood is about to become.
Along with these rugged storylines, there are some of the most appalling images put into film, further solidifying it's stance in reality and brutality. Parents finding their young son crushed by debris after the blast, a woman holding a charred dead infant in her arms, people burned, bloodied, and maimed beyond recognition.
Along with the speed at which the blast unleashes it's fury, the story continues to jump forward in time, showing months and years after the blast takes place. We are exposed to savage military like conditions where people are confined and jailed, people are forced to work for food in scarce conditions which maintains a continued hostile environment. The film seems to continue to spiral deeper and deeper into sheer hopelessness all coming to a revolting head towards the end of the film as we now follow Ruth's daughter and how she, now a teenager, is struggling for her own survival, in a civilization nearly stripped of all education, communication, and basic human rights and decency.
I believe that though this film is tremendously heavy and hard to sit through, it is incredibly important for everyone to see, and to understand the true evil that hides in the capability and power of war, especially between nuclear armed countries. It is not far off from the fears some people may have today amidst the situation going on in Europe with Russia and Ukraine, with growing uncertainty over those in power and their intentions with an arsenal of world ending weapons that can be called upon at any moment. This film truly shows just how awful that type of carelessness can lead to, and to put it lightly, reality would still be unspeakably worse, not knowing the true unprescidented capability and devastation an attack like that would have.
This movie for sure earns it's place in the brutality series and will be the first war film entry, but certainly not the last. Do yourself a favor and seek this one out and buckle up for one of the harshest cinematic rides you will ever wish to get off of. 'Till next time folks, Volume 5 coming soon...