The Fades: Review: Series 1 Ep 1

BBC Three, September 21

Troubled teenager Paul discovers that his hallucinations might not be quite as imaginary as he had believed…

Welcome to The Fades, BBC Three’s new six part horror thriller serial, which can be best described as the antithesis of ITV’s late lamented travesty, Demons.

It shares some of the beats with that series’ opener – young lead introduced to a world existing alongside ours which most people can’t see, gun-toting characters trying to deal with problems arising from that, and special effects creations generally stirring up trouble – but does them with a style (and a lack of American accents) that belies the lower budget that BBC Three shows inevitably have.

Unusually for a pilot episode, there aren’t any immediate weak links apparent. Assorted plotlines are set in motion, with connections between the characters gradually becoming apparent (whether these turn out to be ‘small universe syndrome’ where there are just too many coincidences, or there’s a design to it has yet to be revealed). There are some gross moments: some guerrilla surgery is prefaced by the necessary duct taping of the recipient to a chair to stop him from moving, and the creatures’ attacks are shown graphically. The requisite “ordinary teenager best mate” has a nice line in horror film knowledge (and an interesting theory regarding The Sixth Sense!) and the script creates the heightened reality necessary for some sequences, but grounds others.

Verdict: A creepy initial hour that sets the bar high.  7/10

Paul Simpson


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