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Featured DVD Review: Fading of the Cries

November 14th, 2011

Fading of the Cries - Buy from Amazon

Brian A. Metcalf wrote and directed Fading of the Cries, which was his feature-length debut in both roles. The film is in the horror fantasy genre, which is a difficult genre to do without studio backing. It failed to find an audience in limited release, but this is not surprising, as it was the wrong genre to thrive in art houses and without studio support, it didn't have the advertising budget to draw in megaplex audiences. But now that it is coming out on the home market, will it finally find an audience?

The Movie

The film begins with a voiceover. Michael is a writer, who recently lost his wife and daughter to a drunk driver and has had trouble dealing with it. He's bought a new house to be closer to family, specifically his sister. It's a massive mansion that was cheaper than it should have been. Maybe it will be good for him. Maybe the new surroundings will help him write his next novel. But he doesn't know if he's made the right decision.

We flash forward 14 years to the home of Maggie, Michael's sister, and her daughter, Sarah. They are not exactly a happy family. Sarah's digging through Michael's old stuff looking for booze, which she finds. She also finds a necklace he had given her and when she touches it, it sparkles and some black smoke rises from it. She doesn't notice this. After a short fight with her mom, and blowing off her sister, Jill, she heads off to meet Emily. They complain about living in a small town with nothing to do, when suddenly they are attacked by zombies and Emily is killed by one of the most unconvincing examples of CG blood I've seen. What was an empty street just seconds ago is now swarming with zombies and victims. Sarah is rescued by Jacob and his magical sword, and the two run off to seek safety in an abandoned church.

Meanwhile, back at Sarah's home, her mother and sister are also dealing with the zombie outbreak, when, rather suddenly, we flashback fourteen years to when Michael first moved into his new home. We hear him narrate entries in his journal as he explores his new home. He keeps seeing shadows that shouldn't be there. He finds a very large metal door in the basement to an unused room. And in the attic, he finds an old journal belonging to one of the previous owners, Mathias. Mathias is also the owner of the necklace Sarah is wearing and is the reason all of the zombies are attacking. Jacob explains, in yet another flashback, how Jacob's family was also killed by Mathias and introduces Mathias' three demon guardians: Lilin, Thurah, and Salathis. Soon Jacob will have to face off against Mathias.

I'm trying to make the plot more cohesive, but it keeps jumping back and forth between time frames and not in a way that is compelling to watch. Actually, there's very little in this film that is worth watching. It is a low-budget movie with apparently 1100 special effects shots, unfortunately, this is a case of quantity over quality. The blood splatters are particularly bad. On the other hand, I did like the design for Lilin, but we see precious little of that character. The plot is not confusing per se, but more of a mash of plot elements that we've seen many times before and that are not even stitched together in a coherent way. The dialogue is no better and even veteran actors like Brad Dourif can't sell it, although he tries his best. I did like Elaine Hendrix as the single mom and her scenes with Mackenzie Rosman and Hallee Hirsch do at least show some promise. But despite being one of the better elements in the movie, her character is underused. I could watch a family drama with Elaine Hendrix as a single mom dealing with Hallee Hirsch and Mackenzie Rosman. Sadly, Hallee Hirsch spends far more time with Jordan Matthews who is far too wooden to carry a film.

But this is not a family drama, but a horror fantasy with weak special effects, poor fight scenes, a muddled plot, a lead actor that can't act. It's one to avoid.

The Extras

There is a 15-minute making of featurette on the DVD.

The Verdict

Fading of the Cries is a mess and the DVD isn't even worth a rental.

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