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THE FADES
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Tom Shankland

Starring:
Johnny Harris
Iain De Caestecker
Daniel Kaluuya
Sarah Dormer

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Paul is a typical dorky teenager with a smart mouthed best friend and a mean, popular teenager sister. As if this isn't bad enough, he soon finds out he and a few others are Angelics- people who can communicate with the dead. The dead are known as Fades, and they're trapped on earth for whatever reason. Even worse, some Fades learn that if they eat human flesh, they can take on a human form and take over the planet. It's up to Paul and friends to overcome the Fades and take back the planet.
Is it good movie?
I'm pleased as punch to say that The Fades can definitely be marked as a win in the TV zombie show department. Like Supernatural, it doesn't necessarily feel like a straight up horror show, but it unquestionably feels like it has plenty of action/horror filled moments- plus, it's about ghost-zombies, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. Just the general vibe feels like one Supernatural or maybe even the US version of Being Human.
 
What I really liked about the Fades is that it's well written. The character banter and dialogue is interesting and realistic (and the main characters are actual nerds, quoting nerdly things!). You can actually get behind and believe in the characters and they don't simply spout one-liners and make stupid decisions. Especially memorable is Paul's best friend Mac, played by Daniel Kaaluya. The guy's great, and the character is memorable, funny and keeps the show moving at a good pace. Paul doesn't know how to handle his power and doesn't want to kill anyone, and you believe it.
 
The whole thing is a different take on the genre, believe it or not. If I had to criticize, I'd have to note that there can be a lot going on at once in this one. Sometimes you have a romantic scene, then you've got some heavy spiritual imagery, then you've got comedy right there with you. Even through all the apocalyptic danger, our boys are still looking for (and getting) some lovin', which I suppose is admirable.
 
Even the effects are mostly top notch. I loved the practical makeup used for the decaying Fades- they looked great. There's also a surprising amount of gore here, which was pleasant. Yeah, there's some bad CGI that rears its head from time to time, but it isn't enough to ruin anything.
 
The Fades actually manages to redefine some of the conventions we thought couldn't be retold again. It's well acted, has some decent scares in it and is ultimately compelling enough to want you to keep watching, which is why I'm really holding out for a second season. This is a great starting point.
Video / Audio
The video is presented in 1080i, and looks pretty good. It's sharp, clear and probably couldn't look much better for a TV show.
 
Audio comes in 2.0 stereo in a DTS-HD master audio mix. It's disappointing that we have a bland TV audio mix, but it sounds decent enough.
The Extras
The features here are a mixed bag, and disappointingly are all presented in SD.
 
We'll start off with a few featurettes. There are six total, and here they are: “Apocalypse,” “Polus Revealed,” “The Chosen One,” “The Fades are Here,” “The Real Neil” and “Writing the Fades.” The problem with these is that they're way too short, a trend that continues with these features. Most of them run less than a couple minutes each.
 
There are also some cast interviews (two, with Johnny Harris and Natalie Dormer) which again are pretty short. Too bad, because they both seem pretty jazzed and interested in the project.
 
You'll also find some extra and deleted scenes, which really don't add much to the show overall. They're often accompanied by or introduced by cast and crew members (director Tom Shankland and producer Caroline Skinner show up here to discuss things).
 
Mac Explains features, well, Mac..explaining. This is sort of an extended version of the show's intro where Mac brings the viewer up to speed about what's going on in the show. This is far and away my favorite feature as it's quite informative and I just dig the character. If you're interested, Mac gives info on the following things: What is a Fade? What is Ascension? What is an Angelic? How is everyone connected? Why is Paul special? And what is a Reborn?
 
If you dig outtakes, you'll find a short reel of those here too.
Last Call
The disc isn't exactly brimming with extras and it sucks that they're in SD, but I really dug the show. I really think it's worth seeking out if you've got the dough. It's a bit of a short season though, at only six episodes, so you might want to wait til the price drops.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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