Sunday, October 31, 2010

2010 Geek Fright Fest: AMC's "Walking Dead" Premiere

"The Walking Dead"
Rated MA (for disturbing images)

Directed by Frank Darabont

Andrew Lincoln
Jon Bernthal
Lennie James
Adrian Kali Turner

"The Walking Dead" is based on the graphic novel of the same name, written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore. The series is directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile) and premiered today on AMC.

In the first episode, sherrif's deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is wounded in a shootout with three criminals. He slips into a coma and when he awakes, he finds the town deserted . . . except for "the walkers". Rick decides to head to Atlanta to find his wife and son.

All I can say is "Wow". So far, this show is amazing. The acting is exceptional(aside from Lincoln's on and off American accent) and I was SO pleased to see Lennie James (Snatch) in a role that uses his wonderful talent. James plays Morgan Jones, a grieving widower trying to help his son, Duane (Adrian Kali Turner), survive. Darabont opted for a less-is-more philosophy, skipping excess dialogue and sticking to showing emotional reactions to the zombie carnage, which is far more effective. The desolation is palpable, but Darabont manages to sneak a few pleasant scenes in, most notably, one in which three characters get a hot shower for the first time in months. Morgan's grief over his wife's death is heart-wrenching and his breakdown had me on the verge of tears.

The most awe-inducing quality by far are the amazing makeup effecs created by veteran FX artist, Greg Nicotero. Nicotero is a genius with an enormous and impressive resume. His effects bump the series up to film quality and are arguably the lynch-pin of the show. I applaud the producers at AMC for not shying away from the kind of violence, gore, and gruesome makeup effects needed to create effective zombies. Finally, a channel that produces intelligent, boundary-breaking, and quality programming! (Keep it up, AMC!)

Fright Rating: 3 gasps out of a possible 5

Tonight's episode was mainly about showing the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse, but there were some majorly gory moments. If you're a zombie-lover, you'll adore this series, but judging from the premiere episode, the series will also be character driven and very cinematic. If you can deal with the gore, I highly suggest watching this series.

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