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March 9, 2011

Quick Reaction - The Walking Dead, Episode One

If Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, is the last person to learn of the zombie outbreak, I'm probably the last horror fanatic to check in to the series for the first time.  Here's a quick set of bullet points recapping my thoughts on The Walking Dead, Episode One.


(I can't promise there aren't spoilers in here.)

  • The opening scene featuring Rick and a young zombie is effective, but it didn't exactly get me pumped up.  I feel like we've seen that scene, or something like it, a few dozen times before.  But it's made effective by the slow pace.  Other variations on that scene would have turned the reveal of our first zombie into a moment of frantic shock, but Frank Darabont knows a little something about how to maintain a slow pace and up the tension.  That makes him a pretty good choice to develop a zombie horror.
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  • Darabont's trademarks shine through in other parts of the episode, too.  Like The Mist or The Shawshank Redemption, conversations about each character's problems seem to carry extra weight.  The scene where Rick and another survivor discuss how much their wives value the family photo albums reminded me of his previous work.  Like Shawshank's Andy Dufresne or The Mist's David Drayton, these characters seem able to empathize with each other while keeping their personal objectives in sight.
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  • Very cool to see Snatch co-star Lennie James as the first survivor Rick meets.  James - alongside youngster Adrian Kali Turner - does a fine job of selling the dangers to our lead character, and I found the characters instantly interesting.  There's a scene in which James' Morgan tells his son to go in another room, and I had a moment of concern even though the film hadn't done anything to warn me of that setting or given me much information about the boy and his son.  The final scenes with James' character were very well done and had me involved in the characters.
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  • The introduction to a group of survivors - which include Darabont favorite Jeffrey De Munn and Frozen star Emma Bell - didn't do much for me.  Again, it seems like a standard zombie flick scene.  I'm sure there's more to come from this group, but the quick introduction was too little for me.
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  • One thing I must comment on is the set-up, with Grimes waking up alone in a hospital to discover the outbreak.  In other words, it's the 28 Days Later set up.  Gets a big meh from me.
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  • On the flipside, we get Grimes riding into an abandoned Atlanta in full sheriff gear, carrying a bag of weapons, on horseback.  VERY COOL.  And very sad when it ended, but the couple shots we got of this were quite fantastic.
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  • The zombies didn't look too unique to me, but the effects are definitely not bad.  

  • The final shot of the episode does a great job of showing how wide the show's view could be.  And the little bit of a cliffhanger regarding other survivors is a nice touch. 

  • Overall I don't know if the show really wowed me.  Parts were very standard, but other parts really nailed the human element of Darabont's previous works that I dig.  Lincoln seemed competent in the lead, and it definitely seems the show could go up in scale from here.  Like I said, I'm not wowed....but I'm definitely intrigued to keep watching.  Chalk up one more point for Mr. Darabont.

2 comments:

TheGirlWhoLovesHorror said...

I haven't watched this yet... bad horror fan! But I've never been very good at keeping up with any TV show.

R.D. Penning said...

KEEP WATCHING!!! It's the best show on television, and I'm glad they doubled the number of episodes for Season 2