Should You Fear the Walking Dead?

Fear the Walking Dead Season 1 Details
Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Alycia Debnam-Carey and Frank Dillane in ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ (Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3 / AMC)
AMC is kicking off The Walking Dead prequel appropriately called Fear the Walking Dead on August 23, 2015 with plenty of anticipation from fans of all things scary. It has blood, gore, and answers to the inevitable zombie apocalypse. But Fear the Walking Dead metaphorically takes on some real issues including homelessness, schizophrenia, and drug addiction. The heart of the story centers on a drug addicted teenager who stumbles upon a gory cannibalistic attack from a fellow addict not capable, physically or morally, of committing such an act. Did he witness a zombie attack? Because he’s a drug addict, his family and all other authority figures chalk up his story as a drug-infused nightmare. But we know better!

In a classic Alfred Hitchcock meets George Romero suspense-style narrative, everyone watching the show knows what is happening before the characters, which just adds to the fun. The world ends not with a bang but a whimper in a city where people go unnoticed every day, homelessness is accepted, and strange is normal. What not a better place to show civilization break down.

So how do you make something interesting when the audience already knows the apocalyptic outcome? To begin you put in some real problems that exist today. Actor Frank Dillane, who plays troubled teen Nick Clark, says, “I am trying to portray a drug addicted schizophrenic that is seeking help but true to life is ignored. Nick is seeking truth and discovers it.”

The only person sympathetic enough to believe Nick is his mom, Madison Clark, played by Kim Dickens. Madison is a guidance counselor at a high school where she begins to see strange occurrences. She begins to notice dead figures in the park and on the streets, but are they just homeless people? This ambiguity is the charm to Fear the Walking Dead.

The pilot episode of Fear the Walking Dead takes full advantage of societal issues in Los Angeles. Zombies don’t need to hide in a city with 3.8 million people if they are being ignored. If we put a zombie on the subway will people continue to use their iPhone while the person next to them is lunch? Probably not, but the show tries to explain questions like why the contagion couldn’t be controlled in the original Walking Dead and why there’s a clear disconnect between what the media is telling people about the truth; confusion is a common theme where only a segment of the population is beginning to realize there’s a serious problem.

Other noteworthy cast members include Cliff Curtis who plays Madison’s fiancé and the only person who attempts to add validity to Nick Clark’s crazed drug story. I also really liked Lincoln A. Castellanos who plays a high school senior who brings a knife to school in case he has to fight zombies during lunch break! And as usual character actor Ruben Blades brings intense presence to his role as Daniel Salazar.

For those of you that are craving the blood and gore of The Walking Dead look no further. The new show will not disappoint. Fear the Walking Dead has layers of social issues we see every day built into the story with plenty of scares. If you like The Walking Dead I highly recommend grabbing some popcorn and a friend for Fear the Walking Dead. It will put a horrific smile on your face – watch out!

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