Where is the fear in Fear the Walking Dead?

Before I start, I want to say that in general I like Fear the Walking Dead, and not simply because I am a fan of the original series. Fear the Walking Dead’s premise is an interesting take on the standard zombie formula, focussing intimately on a closed family group while they watch the world fall into chaos around them. This slow burn style of television (giving little hints of the horrors to come) actually appeals to me quite a lot. Let me assure you, this is not a “where are the zombies” rant. No, instead I want to know where the fear is? I mean other than the title, I am hard-pressed to find anyone living in fear in this television show. I mean they should be. Fear the Walking Dead has atmosphere in spades. Unexplainable craziness has broken out all around, and yet, there is a passive restraint in how each major character greets this chaos and I find it absolutely dumbfounding. Am I crazy?

fear-the-walking-dead

Yeah, we did that… no biggie…

Full disclosure, I am Canadian so I am not familiar with high levels of violence, but are people killed en masse in LA so frequently that the widespread killing of individuals or a hospital on fire doesn’t deserve the slightest raise of an eyebrow? And I am not talking about the societal reaction. I think the riots aspect is actually a really creative aproach. No, instead I mean the personal fear. Where are the screams? The crying? The general loss of control? Even if zombies weren’t involved, the sheer level of terror that would come with a societal collapse would cause levels of panic far exceeding the muted tones delivered by the Clark and Manawa families. No, instead, it seems these families have it all figured out. Let us please consider Kim Dickens. I love her as an actress. Her work in Deadwood and Treme was top-notch. I have seen what she is capable of delivering as an actress, and I am just not seeing it here. No, instead her reaction to a military take over, or the shooting of a neighbour is one of single-minded acceptance with mild levels of aggression. It takes me out of the shows atmospheric presentation so much that it is starting to jar with my wanting to enjoy the program. In the third episode, she asks her current boyfriend’s ex-wife to kill Dikens’ character in the event of the unknown illness infecting her. What? In what world can we accept that as a realistic discussion after only 48 hours of an unknown biological incident. It is this passive acceptance to the situation that I simply cannot get over.

This is my concerned face!

This is my concerned face!

Maybe I am being overly critical. Please tell me in the comments if I am, or that you simply disagree. I just can’t help but feel that a show with excellent potential and an incredibly strong cast (in name at least) is suffering from a pressing level of apathy within its pot-pourri of characters. Are they written this way? Is it weak direction? I don’t know. In general, however, if this show is meant to represent the end of humanity in a way, I cannot help but wonder where that base humanity is in the series’ chief protagonists.

Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar

 

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2 responses to “Where is the fear in Fear the Walking Dead?

    • Yes, the finale brought a great amount of tension. My issue is more with how characters were reacting to the world around them. I was blown away by how accepting they were of the extraordinary things that were happening all around them, that is once again until the later episodes which were a great improvement.

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