TV Review: “Face Off” Returns In Top Form

face off

Review by James McDonald

Face Off is a competition/elimination series exploring the world of special-effects make-up artists and the unlimited imagination which allows them to create amazing works of living art.

What I love about “Face Off” is that it pertains directly to movies. And not just movies but a huge and mostly underrated aspect of any film incorporating aliens, monsters or both: the special effects. “Face Off” has shed light on that area of filmmaking and has created a TV show that is both fascinating and engaging. It lets the viewer see the intricacies and complexities involved with this particular category when making a film or TV show and it gives these artists the opportunity to shine as they are judged by their fellow peers.

This time around, the guest judge is none other than seven-time Academy Award winning make-up artist, Rick Baker, the man responsible for the special effects in such movies as “An American Werewolf in London,” “Harry and the Hendersons,” Michael Jackson’s music video “Thriller” and a little-known independent movie that most people have never heard of, “Star Wars.” He watches and interacts with the contestants as they are given their first big task, that of an alien crash site in the middle of the desert and they must create the creatures that emerged from the wreckage.

It was difficult for me to watch as I knew one person would be voted off by the episode’s end but as I watched each and every individual putting their heart and soul into something they love and devote their entire lives to, I was just so glad that it wasn’t me having to judge them. The entire structure for this new season of “Face Off” has changed dramatically from previous iterations as three winners from previous seasons return and take the newbies under their wing and teach them the ropes.

It’s a welcome transformation (pun intended) as we get to see the winners connect and relate with the new contestants and share in their excitement but also their heartache. Judging from the first few episodes, this season looks to be the best yet.

Premieres on Tuesday, January 13th at 9/8c on SyFy

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James McDonald
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