Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Writer / Director Brian A. Metcalf’s ‘Fading of the Cries’ comes our way bringing some momentum behind it as there is a healthy amount of buzz surrounding this movie. The thing about buzz is that it often brings raised expectations and after watching ‘Fading of the Cries’, this is something that this movie really didn’t need. ‘Under the Radar’ probably would’ve worked wonders for this one.

I’m going to do my best to give a brief description of ‘Fading of the Cries’ but the truth of the matter is I had little idea what was supposed to be going on most of the time. What I do know is that our main character Sarah (Hallee Hirsch) hates her mom Maggie (Elaine Hendrix), though I can’t tell you why outside of the fact that Sarah seems to be a hateful bitch. Later on we see Maggie clutching a bottle of vodka which seemed to upset Sarah, but considering what Maggie had been through up to that moment, I think a stiff drink was certainly in order. Anyway, Sarah is putzing around in the attic where she stumbles across a pendant that her uncle gave her, one that emits some kind of weird black mist when she picks it up. Sarah should’ve seen that. What Sarah is really looking for is the bottle liquor up there so she can booze it up with her girlfriend. The odd thing is that this attic is only accessible via stepladder. That’s a strange place to keep booze.

Moving along, Sarah and her girlfriend are walking down the street and get one good slug of that bottle before they are attacked by bleeding eye zombie monsters. Hate it when that happens. We won’t be concerned about her friend anymore but Sarah is thankfully saved by a samurai sword wielding young man named Jacob (Jordan Matthews) who is kind of a cross between Neo and The Crow. Just call him NeoCrow. Where did the zombies come from? Where did NeoCrow come from? Who the hell knows, but they’re everywhere. I believe everybody in the entire town, wherever this supposed to be, is a bleeding eye zombie. Everybody except Maggie’s mom, who she hates, and her little sister Jill (McKenzie Rosman) who she doesn’t seem to care all that much about either. In fact, after getting attacked by hordes of zombies, observing the town was overrun by zombies and other creatures and crows and stuff, Sarah found the bright side and was happy that she didn’t have to deal with her mom and her sister. Sure they might be dead, and the audience knows that they are in grave danger, but Sarah could care less.

But what’s happening? I know that there’s a wizard named Matthias (Brad Dourif) who has put a curse on this town, I know that Sarah’s uncle Michael (Thomas Ian Nicholas) found Matthias’ Book of Evil and learned a few incantations, I know that NeoCrow’s family was kind of slaughtered by Matthias. I think. I just don’t know why. I know that Matthias wants the necklace that Michael gave Sarah, but again, I don’t really know why. He’s already turned the whole town into bleeding eye zombies, so I don’t what else he can do to these poor people if he has the necklace. I don’t know how NeoCrow became a ninja, I don’t know why Sarah’s such a bitchy little so and so, and I don’t know what the title means. NeoCrow yells it out at the end but if he could’ve followed that up with ‘and that means…’ I wouldn’t have been mad at him.

So the word is that young Brian Metcalfe has come to make his mark in this business as an effects guy, and there are plenty of fancy effects in ‘Fade of the Cries’ which, we must say, is a damned ambitious endeavor. A scythe carrying ninja turns into a murder of crows, famed Capoeira martial artist Lateef Crowder signed on to be a translucent, wall hopping demon, the bleeding eye zombies number in the thousands… man, the effects are plentiful but the coherence is low. At least for me because this film might be as clear as Dr. Seuss to you good people out there in Internet land.

It is a cliché but the sometimes it is true that less is more. Instead of finding a way to digitally multiply ten people into thousands upon thousands of people that NeoCrow can repetitively hack and slash, how about spending three minutes telling us why Sarah hates her mom. And everybody for that matter. While that guy turning into crows was awesome and all, I got the gist of the effect the first time so instead of the next three or four times, how about a little exposition about where NeoCrow picked up his killer Samurai Ninja skills. That would’ve been nice. While it’s often insulting to have characters in a movie break the flow of the movie by stepping out and explaining stuff, this is one case where I wouldn’t have minded being insulted. Not at all.

Some of the special effects were nice, while some looked painfully like greenscreen effects featuring characters either running in place or running on a treadmill. Brad Dourif did what we know Brad Dourif does in the movies he shows up in by chewing up scenery and spitting it out, though some of the other performances were suspect at best. I think that Sarah and NeoCrow were supposed to have some kind of romance going on, but considering how unpleasant Sarah was and how bland NeoCrow turned out to be, that wasn’t working either.

There was some potential here with ‘Fading of the Cries’ to be a decent fantasy / action thriller but sadly it was lost amidst the plethora of greenscreens and confusion.

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