Fading of the Cries (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus throws down his sword and walks away from this teen horror/fantasy
When teenage girl Sarah (Hallee Hirsh) finds her uncle’s old rune necklace in the loft, she thinks she’s just wearing an old family heirloom, but when her best friend is killed my possessed demon zombie thingies and she’s saved by brooding floppy haired sword wielding Jacob (of course he’s called Jacob) she soon realises this rune’s mysteries have a history.
Fading of the Cries —a terrible title that is even more terribly shoehorned into the actual film at the end—reminded me of the books I read for all of five minutes from my school library. You know the ones, they have spooky houses, really flimsy plots that play on classic fantasy/horror elements, they try to fit it all into an everyday neighbourhood just like your own and they have a sort of creepy bad cover to make them seem appealing in amongst the rest of the school’s friendlier titles. What I’m trying to say is, Fading of the Cries is just pure teenage fluff. There’s no genuine horror here (though it does work slightly above its station with some bloodier elements), the fantasy is lazy and the characters are so paper thin I felt like I was watching a bad game play out without my interaction.
Across the board the acting is lousy, well besides Brad Dourif who chews up scenes as Mathias the necromancer and acts as if he’s in a much higher calibre of film (which he really should be). The lead action pretty boy Jacob literally stands in the ready to fight position throughout and looks silly in his awkwardness and that’s even before he does his weird little run, American Pie’s (and incidentally one of the movie's producer as well) Thomas Ian Nicholas tries his damndest to voice over his part in the story with real drama but everything falls flat on its face with the less that scary visuals of Uncle Michael's descent into the dark arts.
Oh and while we’re on the visuals, hats off to director/ writer/ producer Brian Metcalf for pulling off most of the film in a green screen environment but none of it looks real. Like ever. Backgrounds can look utterly ridiculous in their fakeness, most of the fighting scenes are covered in a blur special effect to hide the gore, bad effects and weak fights. Outside of a few practical make up effects, any chance of this movie being scary or convincing are blown very early on.
The best I can muster up here is that Fading of the Cries looks okay. It's not terrible like low budget can look but it's far from polished like a half decent movie should look either. I've already dissed the terrible effects but the transfer itself is just so straight forward. The image is pretty much always grainy, though sometimes it hides it better than others and the darker scenes are far noisier because of it. Colours are represented alright in places but usually scenes are just blue/grey or beige in tone and there’s not much in the way of variety and nothing ever really calls attention to itself (outside of the bad effects of course—they always call attention to themselves). Some of the scenes' lighting can make this feel slightly above its low budget but generally speaking the entire movie looks like a TV show and not really one aimed at adults.
Once again, the best description I can muster is 'okay'. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track does what it needs to but not a lot else. Dialogue is clear but not very strong, there’s the odd use of the rear speakers with knocking on doors or swishing of swords and the score just about fills all the channels when it really tries its best but really it’s a vanilla track that barely registers.
The 'Behind the Scenes' (14:26) is surprisingly serious in tone. All the cast really do feel like this is something special and big up writer/ director Brian Metcalf with a whole lot of gusto. It’s short but it covers the basics well and everyone gives each other a pat on the back for their work here.
Fading of the Cries is teenage horror/ fantasy at its most bland. Story, visuals and effects are all pretty much uninspiring and I’m not sure what audience this is aimed at. It’s slightly too gory for the real young 'uns, teenagers sort of skip this level and hit up the darker stuff and I doubt even Twilight fans would get much from this (though the stuff they swallow as ‘good’ is always baffling, so who knows?). Basically this one is a bit of a head scratcher, so if watching wooden actors running away from demon zombies and Brad Douriff dropping one or two Chucky laughs is your thing, consider a rental.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 30th May 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Extras: Behind the Scenes
Easter Egg: No
Director: Brian A. Metcalf
Cast: Jordan Matthews, Brad Dourif
Genre: Drama, Fantasy and Horror
Length: 89 minutes
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