02nd Jul2011

‘Fading of the Cries’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Brad Dourif, Mackenzie Rosman, Hallee Hirsh | Written and Directed by Brian A. Metcalf

When watching Fading of the Cries it seems to be to be one movie that really made me think the use of CGI had gone too far. Yes it’s fair that CGI can help create worlds which would be way too expensive to do practically, and CGI can allow the fantastical to be created on screen, it can be used to do amazing things. It can also though damage the experience for the watcher as it can encroach on their experience. Movies have to create a form of reality that is believable to the watcher, not make them sit there considering how cheap that part of the movie looked.

The story in itself is quite ambitious. Sarah a teenage girl is left a necklace by her dead uncle. As soon as she tries it on she and her family are attacked by demon like people with no apparent aim but to kill and destroy everything around them, namely the small town they live in. With the help of Jacob, a boy seemingly around her same age she manages to escape them. It is not until the appearance of Mathias the Necromancer and his demonic helpers that Sarah finds out her uncle had stolen the necklace and Mathias wants it. Through finding out the truth behind Jacob’s past and who Mathias actually is Sarah has to save the small town from the evil that is try to take over. One thing we never find out though is why Jacob looks like a cross between Neo from the Matrix and The Crow.

Fading of the Cries screams out one thing from the start and that is ambition. There is a strong storyline set in place and the director has definitely got a vision that he is trying to create and in some respects he does actually managed this. The big problem though is definitely the CGI; in places it comes across as weak and overall too much. This can be arguably down to the ambition though and maybe the fact that the story is so fantastical it pushes for a use of CGI that just goes too far. Sarah and Jacob are chased through the countryside by demons, through underground catacombs that must run through most of the small town; there are what appears to be thousands of these demons running around down there (if these demons are people from the town there are surprisingly a lot of them) and they also have to fight Mathias’ demonic helpers who are more deadly than the average horde. These helpers, who are true demons not just possessed people, are the more interesting characters in the movie and the lack of CGI around them probably is one of the reasons. Of course when the CGI is included (mainly during fights) this hampers the effectiveness of them, which is a shame.

As detrimental as the CGI is to the movie it would be a shame to give up on it just because of that fact. The story in itself is as stated strong and the acting is above average. My highlight of course would be Brad Dourif as Mathias as he knows how to perfectly portray this character. It’s almost reminiscent of his character Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Sarah’s younger sister Jill is another stand out character, her foul mouth reactions to situations add a comic element to the fantasy horror and are a refreshing change to the seriousness of the events going on around her.

I did try not to let the CGI issues affect my enjoyment when watching Fading of the Cries but in the end it always does, even after repeated watches. I’m not saying that CGI is a bad thing and in some of this movie it actually works, I just feel it’s overused and detrimental, sometimes becoming obtrusive to the enjoyment of some of the scenes. In the demonic attacks for example, why do they have to be blurred? If this was to give the idea of an increase in speed this would be OK, but it’s not. They just move around in a blurry haze which is confusing and weakens the look of the characters themselves as they are less malevolent and more a case of the CGI artist saying “Hey! Look what I can do!” which is a shame because it’s obvious that a lot of work went into it to try and make it look good. This may come down to personal taste but I prefer less CGI and more story, it’s fine to use CGI just don’t lose what you are trying to achieve in the final product…

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