Reviews

'Fading of the Cries' Is So Bad, on So Many Levels

A sulky girl inherits an amber necklace, and when she wears it one night, flesh-eating zombies start popping out of the woodwork, only to be beaten off by a Keanue Reeves wannabe wielding a samurai sword.


Fading of the Cries

Director: Brian A. Metcalf
Cast: Brad Dourif, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Halle Hirsch
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated: R
Release date: 2011-11-15

Hoo boy, this is a bad movie. From the first scene's ham-fisted voice-over exposition, to the glacial pacing and dead-on-arrival dialogue, to the relentlessly poor acting and washed-out color palette, there's hardly a wrongheaded move that isn't made just a little more cringe-inducing through the botched efforts of all involved. "So bad it's good" doesn't begin to address the scale of this so-bad-it's-bad trainwreck.

Sample line of dialogue #1: "Can you run? Good—we're about to do a lot of it."

So what happens? Oh hell, I don’t know. A sulky girl named Sarah inherits an amber necklace from her uncle, and when she wears it one night, flesh-eating zombies start popping out of the woodwork, only to be beaten off by a Keanue Reeves wannabe wielding a samurai sword. (Trust me, it makes even less sense when you see it.)

Sample line of dialogue #2: "I guess what I'm trying to say is… (pause) …I know how it feels to be alone."

Sulky Sarah and Keanu Wannabe hole up in a church, which, is the perfect spot to enjoy some heavy expositionin'. Mr Wannabe wants to oblige, but no sooner does he get started when he is attacked by a bald monster-thing with braids, or possibly dreads. Also there is a flock of bats who fly around without actually hurting anybody—they're bats, which is only scary if you're a gnat—but they look mighty weird, as only a flock of CGI flying mammals can.

Sample line of dialogue #3: "I keep thinking this is all some sort of bad dream."

Escaping the bats, Sulky Sarah meets up with some black-robed otherworldly dude who covets her necklace. Sarah's measured, thoughtful response is to threaten black-robe dude with a piece of lumber. (Trust me, it all makes even less… oh never mind.) Suddenly—and I mean really suddenly, because there's no particular reason for any of this—our two loveable fops are on the run again, this time chased by a howling mob of something—zombies? They move pretty fast for zombies.

Vampires? Who the hell knows. There were a bunch of open coffins a minute ago, so maybe they're vampires. Anyway, don't worry if you don't understand the intricacies of the plot, because frankly there isn't any scene that's going to last long enough to matter before some new, equally pointless non sequiter is introduced.

Sample line of dialogue #4: "Am I missing something here?"

So, then there are more zombies. They chase Sarah and Jacob (KW's real name) here and they chase them there, and none of it really matters much. They trap our heroes on a covered bridge, but Sarah and Jacob escape a grisly fate through the clever stratagem of running away. Jacob uses his samurai sword to good effect, as none of the zombies have ever been schooled in the art of not taking turns to attack one at a time, and not running directly into a blade. Lucky!

So then, what better time for a little more exposition than when taking a breather from all that zombie-escaping? Once again, Jacob obliges.

Sample line of dialogue #5: "It seems like just yesterday."

Oh and there's a book of spells, and a creepy old house, and a murder from fourteen years ago. Maybe you can connect these dots.

About 30 minutes in, it occurs to the viewer that there is still another hour-plus of this nightmare—in more ways than one—to sit through. Prospects don't look good for anyone involved, least of all the audience.

Sample line of dialogue #6: "If he turns day into night, this town won’t survive."

Amazingly, the DVD contains a 15-minute behind-the-scenes featurette which includes interviews with the cast and crew. Maybe these unlucky folks sense that this is their chance to grab a few minutes of screen time, since it seems unlikely that involvement in this production will catapult any of them into superstardom. It also seems unlikely in the extreme that anyone who just sat through this godawful movie would be hungry for more "entertainment", but hey, you never know.

This film is so bad on so many levels that it's tough to overstate the case. Aficianados of low-budget filmmaking might be curious to give this a look, but make no mistake: this is much more of a slog than a joy. It's possible to imagine a frat-house drinking game being devised in order to inject some hilarity into the proceedings, but short of that, there's little to recommend this.

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