Nine's new telemovie project takes a bite out of the horror genre.
Nine is boosting its output of telemovies, and one of them will have real bite.
So far all the press on Panic at Rock Island has concentrated on a deadly virus that breaks out during a rock concert on an island in the middle of Sydney Harbour.
But Nine has been avoiding the "Z" word -- zombies.
"It's all idyllic until unimaginable disaster strikes when a deadly virus is discovered on the island. Its symptoms are shocking and it brings swift and painful death," says the synopsis.
It will feature Grant Bowler (True Blood, Border Security, Ugly Betty, Lost, Outrageous Fortune) and Vince Colosimo (Underbelly, Wicked Love: The Maria Korp Story, Australian Families of Crime, Customs) plus Damian Walshe-Howling (Underbelly, Crash Investigation Unit), Jessica Tovey (Home and Away), Dee Smart (Water Rats), Simone Kessell (Underbelly) and Anna Hutchinson (Ledgend of the Seeker).
The fictional tale follows on from the hypothetical disaster that unravelled in the Scorched telemovie when droughts, fire and a water shortage gripped Sydney.
Panic at Rock Island has been co-financed with Nine and Universal Networks International (UNI), which will see it air in the US on Syfy Universal, as well as other channels in its global portfolio.
Nine is also about to premiere its newest Underbelly title, the telemovie, Tell Them Lucifer Was Here, which dramatises the 1998 murders of Victorian police officers, Gary Silk and Rod Miller. It stars Todd Lasance (Home and Away), Brett Climo (All Saints), Jane Allsop (Blue Heelers), Paul O'Brien (Home and Away), Greg Stone (Blue Heelers), Jeremy Kewley (Stingers) and Annie Jones (Neighbours).
There have been two more Underbelly telemovies completed: Infiltration, which chronicles the story of Victorian cop Colin McClaren, who infiltrated the local Calabrian mafia; and The Man Who Got Away, profiling Australian drug smuggler David McMillan, the only man ever to escape from Bangkok's Klong Prem prison.
Both will draw upon Underbelly's house-style of sexed-up true crime dramas.
Panic at Rock Island and Tell Them Lucifer Was Here will air this year on Nine.