AMC’s original series Fear the Walking Dead takes us back prior to the outbreak that began with award winning Walking Dead. After an excellently executed bloody and gnarly opening in a crack house church where a drug addict (the son of Madison Clark) escapes a zombie attack. It then moves to everyday life slowly unravelling reminiscent of the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake and Diary of the Dead’s news footage of the reanimating dead.
There’s plenty of suspense and atmosphere in the first episode, the pacing is spot on with a thought out introduction to the dysfunctional and estranged family. The family drama feel natural and unforced thanks to some attention to detail, effective writing by Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson, Adam Davidson’s direction and solid acting. Cliff Curtis as Travis Manawa and Kim Dickens as Madison Clark are particularly notable. With a drug hit subplot, murder, shootings, a hit and run and undead attacks there’s plenty going on but not at the expense of the characterisations.
The first pilot episode attempts to avoid the tropes/clichés but given the subject matter its unavoidable, hopefully going forward it doesn’t recycle too many elements of its predecessor nor follow its meandering footsteps.
The Los Angeles setting gives it scope, a fresh feel and like its predecessor it benefits from an on location shoot. Hopefully it’ll retain its grounded feel. Those wanting a fast paced ride or running zombies maybe disappointed. However for the old-school zombie fans it’s creepy, suspenseful, moody and engrossing.