Face Off (TV Series 2011– ) Poster

(2011– )

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Often mind-boggling...
poe42617 February 2012
It's been said that, given a set of paints and a brush and a million years, a chimp could paint the Mona Lisa. Maybe. Given a makeup kit and a million years, I seriously doubt I could do a decent zombie makeup. I've tried; it's just not something I'll ever be good at. The makeups the contestants on this show crank out, with the clock ticking and under microscopic scrutiny, is mind-boggling. I don't think I've seen a single creation by any one of them that I would hesitate to put front and center. Regardless of whether or not they "make it" on this show, they've all got more artistic ability in their pinkie toes than I do in my entire bulk. As far as I'm concerned, there ARE no losers on this show. Sincerely, Dazzled.
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Fantastic Show without Fake Drama
nephalinesyenite23 December 2013
This is an example of a great reality show, what all should aspire to be; a competition about creativity, ability and skill. It is entrancing to see what the contestants can create in such a short amount of time, so much of their work is beautiful or grotesque (as required). When people see a movie, they just don't realize the talent and work required to bring these special effects to screen. Digital special effects have become the norm, but watching Face Off will make anyone appreciate the hands on teams and sometimes unsung heroes who do the Special Effects Makeups.

There is very little drama here between contestants, and when there is, it's real. Even though they are competing for a huge prize, and bragging rights, the contestants usually support each other. They give each other critiques in the work room, and when one has a problem, other contestants will often stop their own work to help them! It's obvious that the contestants are often forming real friendships that will last beyond the show.

May not always agree with the judges decisions of who should win or be eliminated, but their decisions are rarely shocking, and judging appears to be fair.

I'll agree with other reviewers that Mackenzie is a bit stiff as a host, it's not easy to find a host who has the right combination of warmth, poise, and likability (Cat Deeley, Padma Lakshmi). Mackenzie at least has an understanding of the industry because of her father Michael Westmore.
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One of my favorites
Fourthingsandalizard17 March 2012
I can see how this show might not appeal to everyone, and MacKenzie Westmore is admittedly very robot-like, but aside from such small issues, it's entertaining T.V. One doesn't have to be a make-up artist to enjoy it. The entertainment stems from not only seeing the end make-ups,(although they are usually awesome)but from the interaction between the artists, seeing how they rise to the challenge, seeing what exactly goes into a make-up, and what matters to the judges. I don't usually watch reality T.V., but I have looked forward every week to the next episode; the next challenge. I would recommend "Face Off" to anyone who enjoys art.
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Best Competition Show
cafesmitty29 May 2013
You know what is truly great about this competition show? People either win or lose not base on personality and the rest of the country calling, but by the experts. The judges are in the business and it is only appropriate that they along decide the fate of who goes on and who don't. I've seen some remarkable creations by some extremely talented and dedicate makeup professionals. You get to see a lot of the behind the scenes stuff and techniques in creature/character creations and how to make quality stuff on a budget. The contestants are always working with a time constraint and the stuff that comes out of their heads from just a suggestion is amazing. None of it comes off fake... none of that fake personality clash drama and a lot of the contestants tend to help out their fellow competitors, whether it is releasing a mode or coming up with a concept. I think that if this is your passion, to get into the movie business and be a creature/makeup professional this is a MUST show for you to watch. But even for a layman like me, I find it fascinating. And I generally like all the contestants on the show (except Frank from the first season). But I would love to just have a room full of paints and stuff and just told to create something. Even if I was to fail, it still would be so amazingly cool. And when people "don't" get along, they do tolerate, but it isn't fake. There is no yelling at each other or over the top acting out. It's just about people who are passionate about makeup. I give it a 10 as in not comparison to scripted show, but only comparison to other unscripted show and for me, its the best.
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Class Act Entertainment
vanzantart29 October 2014
One of the classiest reality shows on television. I know nothing about the makeup industry but who knew that I would find this subject so interesting. The contestants are so talented and you can tell they truly love what they are doing. I especially love the way the artists will occasionally jump in and help each other to get the job done which tells me how seriously they take their industry and, considering it is a competition, I think this is fabulous.

Even if there are moments that occur behind the scenes that involve arguing or dissension between the contestants, the fact that I don't see them means someone has made a conscious decision to not air the garbage, so that all I see is the art. I believe this is one of the main reasons that this is one of the most entertaining shows on TV.
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Love this show!
TyTheRipper21 April 2013
Being an aspiring FX makeup artist of course I'm going to love this show! I tune in every week and even find myself picking a cast member as a favorite for the season. Its an interesting show for EVERYONE! Even if you are not into doing FX its still a very fun show. I do wonder at times if the show might not be rigged sadly, at times the judges make very poor decisions that result in a cast member being thrown out that has dominated the majority of the season or favoring one that has been lacking. They do however portray the cast members accurately (most) of the time, i have trained under a past cast member and they never once made them out to be a villain or bad guy. I highly recommend it! You cant go wrong with this one!
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Original or Mediocre: Depends Upon The Episode
CinematicThylacine13 March 2014
FaceOff is a show that varies in quality from episode to episode, it all is based on both the challenges and the contestants. Sometimes you'll have a great weekly challenge but mediocre artists, and sometimes you'll have outstanding artists with an uninspiring weekly challenge. When it's "bad" it's slightly boring at worst, when it's "good" it's freaking epic! For every two or three boring generic make ups on this show there is one awesome one that will make you drop your jaw in amazement. Special mention goes to the Neptune Werewolf, RJ's Lizard Flower, and a majority of makeups that Roy or Eric Fox made. If FaceOff had awesome challenges and awesome make ups every episode I would give it a 9, however since this is not always the case I can only give it an 8....
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On my Must Watch List Every Week
alexandermoore-127388 April 2015
Face Off is not some cheesy reality competition show like others. It is a superb and in depth look into the creation of fantastic makeups. It really shows how much hard work can go into something that can have so small or large of a role in a film. I would recommend this for any movie fan who loves watching behind the scenes on their Blu-Ray's or DVD's, and especially if you are considering makeup effects for a living. Another positive is that you find yourself critiquing the finished makeups along with the judges, which is good for any competition show. The reason this show isn't at a 10 is because it varies from episode to episode. Sometimes the challenges are weird and sometimes they are mind blowing, like the recent challenge of the artists making themselves superheroes. If you haven't seen this show yet give it a watch. It is on every Tuesday night on the Syfy channel.
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Now I'm feelin' zombiefied...
mylucylumpkins27 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This show and I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship. It had some really great things going for it, but it seems like the whole concept could have been better executed. The majority of the competitors were highly talented and I enjoyed watching them work and seeing their creations. Some of them seemed like they were thrown into the mix for the sake of creating drama and conflict. The judges, on the other hand, could have been chosen better. My only guess is that the judge selection came from lack of funding or inability of talented professionals to be able to commit. The best judges were the periodical guest star judges. If anyone affiliated with any of the Underworld film criticized my work, I would give myself a pat on the back for staying away from mediocrity.

I loved the concept and most of the work done, especially the choreographed zombie episode. They actually had Greg Nicotero judging, which I highly apprenticed. I do feel that we were all robbed of our ending. I think that if it had went down to the audience vote, it would have been between Gage Hubbard and Tate Steinsiek. All in all, I think that it was a great idea and some really unbelievable talent put into the wrong hands, but I would definitely tune in every week for a new season.
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Not your average elimination show!
genesis42088-293-68922728 August 2012
Defiantly not a show for younger viewers because its like any other elimination show; People are unpredictable and can cuss someone out on one episode or get in a physical altercation the next. I have yet to see anything like that is this show, but the blood and special effects are not age appropriate for children. I honestly can say that this truly is one of the best elimination show I have ever seen and really hope to see many more seasons. It defiantly is a must see for anyone who enjoys special effects in movies. The fact that movies are an every day joy for most people, it gives you a look behind the curtains and see the blood and sweat the make-up artiest go through to make the next movie better then the last. I loved hearing that the first seasons winner worked on The Hunger Games and look forward to seeing more of them become successful.
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If these are supposed to be aspiring artists...
icyharris-539-1699043 November 2014
Why do their creations looked 10X better than the makeup jobs of half the shows on their channel, SyFy. Ever since I started watching this show, I am more observant on modern makeup jobs. To me, Star Wars set the standard, dispensing with bad masks and obviously zippered costumes. For these contestants, considering the time and budget they have, create some convincing creatures that match or even rival those special effects. What I hate though, which is a similar beef I have with "Project Runway" and "American Idol" is that they want the artists to be diverse when you can tell some of them are more comfortable with a particular genre- and I'm sure they will be just as successful as people that are more versatile. Like some are better at kiddie movie type makeup, some for horror movies, some for lightweight fantasy fare, some for comedies, and some for shows needing realistic battle and murder victim wounds. All I can say is SyFy and other productions, you need to hire some of these people and fire your current staff!
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A reality show without manufactured drama!?
amariesco-3926430 July 2018
I'm so sad that SYFY is dumping this wonderful show after 13 seasons of contestants showing us their crazy good artistic skills while helping each other when needed. The show is just exciting and you can't help but cheer on everyone. With phenomally talented and award winning judges, guest stars who are also fans or film and tv icons, a sweet and encouraging pair of Westmore's, and a passionate fan base, what's not to love about this show?
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aliholly-6281920 November 2019
I've watched a few season of the show and I really love it. It's so cool seeing the creative process from design to completion. I do wish we got more detail in the creative process instead of the shows editors just trying to build up suspense. The judges are hit or miss as sometimes the criticisms are useful but sometimes they'll just simply say "it's bad," which isn't helpful at all. Ultimately, seeing the finished product is always awesome. Whether bad or good.
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Just started this show and as of season two, I'm over it
despicableME4 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I came to Face Off late. I never watched when it aired on SyFy, and only started a few weeks ago when I found it on the SyFy app on my Roku.

I enjoyed the technical aspects quite a lot; watching these contestants go from abstract idea to fully realized character is truly a cool thing. I also like the guest judges they have on, from actors, directors to fellow special effects artists.

What I really do NOT like about the show is the back-biting of contestants toward each other. The creation of characters is so interesting, watching them work, watching them build. They don't need "filler" of people acting like jerks to keep my attention.

What I really don't like, and ultimately why I stopped watching the show, is how the judges determine who wins, who loses and who goes home.

By season two I'd had enough. And by episode 8, when the judges sent home Beki and kept Sue, I figured the judges were complete idiots and my time could be spent watching something better and less contrived (read: set up.)

Beki is truly a talented individual; she proved in every challenge that she was more than a capable artist. She made ONE mistake and they sent her home.

Conversely, Sue coasted along, scraping thru challenges by herself and leaning completely on her teammates when paired up. And the challenge in episode 8, she not only didn't do what the challenge called for, SHE HAD HER MODEL DO HALF HER WORK.

I don't get it. And I don't need to waste my time watching more made-up reality nonsense. There are several good challenge shows out there; I'll watch those.
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Gosh I wish you would bring it back
trudjoh1 October 2019
One of the shows I really looked forward to. So creative, artistic, and fun. Please bring it back!!
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Art and Technique Combine in this Enjoyable Competition Show
atlasmb1 April 2015
"Face Off" is a marvelous competition show in which contestants must complete weekly challenges, with the loser being eliminated. The format is nothing special (see "Project Runway" or "Dancing with the Stars"), but this is a quality show because the contestants are talented, imaginative people and all the voting is done by experts.

The challenge is to create a being with the use of makeup, following a weekly theme. One week it is "superheroes", one week it is "aliens" or perhaps "creepy dolls". This is a timed competition, so much of the drama arises from the necessity of using time efficiently. Things do go wrong, and the makeup artists must overcome their mistakes or miscalculations.

Not everyone will appreciate the artistic application of makeup, including casting of appliances and the creative phase, which requires an ability to let your imagination fly, but not so far as to sabotage the assignment.

I love that viewers get to see every phase of the projects. As expected, the contestants are passionate about the art of makeup. It is fun to watch their excitement with an assignment stir their creative juices. No doubt many will become professionals and the show serves as a video resume.
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This review is for season 13 only due to a new elimination method
kriselda9 July 2018
I have a _real_ problem with the way the eliminations are being handled. Since they're only doing eliminations every other week - and are getting rid of two people on the elimination weeks - the contestants on the non-elimination weeks get a big, and seriously unfair, advantage.

Here's what happening (I'm going to use made up contestant names to avoid any spoilers)

Week 1 "Debbie, " "Daniel" and "Davey" are the three lowest scoring contestants of the week. If this were a normal week during a normal season, one of them would be leaving, but because of the special format this season, all three get to stay, giving them all a chance to do better the next week.

Week 2 Debbie, Daniel and Davey are able to make great use of their close call from the week before, do a much better job and win their face-to-face battles, so all three are get to stay. "Nancy" and "Noah," however, both dropped the ball and are both eliminated. Unlike Debbie, Daniel and Davey, neither of them gets a chance to come back the next week to try to redeem themselves and avoid elimination. They're just gone.

Week 3 and 4 the cycle repeats. Whomever would have been this week 3's loser basically gets a do-over, while the two lowest scorers for week 4 don't.

What I think would be much more fair would be to announce at the end of the non-elimination week who the two lowest scorers for the week are. Then, during the elimination week episode have them be one of the battling pairs. The loser of that battle goes home, as doeswhomever is the overall loser of all the other battles.

For example:

Week 1 Debbie and Davey have the lowest scores. In a normal season, that would be it for one of them, but because of the special format both get to compete next week.

Week 2 Debbie and Davey are paired in one of the face-to-face battles and whichever one loses that battle goes home. The other battling pairs are matched up however they're doing it that episode. Out of those pairs, it's determined that Nancy was the weakest, so she also goes home.

That way, at least one of the two weakest players from week one will be sent home. It's not perfect, but it would be a lot better.
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Really great show
ablank048 May 2018
Every season surprises me with what they come up with in such a short period of time. Always great talent on the show and entertaining.
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done very well, makes you want to watch AND become an artist!
jbrbsmom10 February 2018
I LOVE watching the talent on this show. This show has evolved through the years to be MORE about the art and has started showing the positive sides of competition.

In the first few seasons, there was some negative interactions and pettiness and I thought that was sort of classless. NOW, they highlight teamwork and positive interactions and it really has become MUCH BETTER of a show.

The contestants are USUALLY depicted in a positive light and are so super talented it really is exciting to watch what they will create each episode. My KIDS like to watch it as well, another reason I am glad that the interactions tend to be on the positive side and highlight the ART and what can be accomplished when people work TOGETHER.

Of course, there is always the human nature element and there can be some unlikable qualities about a few of the contestants and it is a competition show: again, the artistic abilities of the people tend to be displayed more than petty quarrels which really make THIS show stand above others in its class.

Personally, I am tired of watching people dispute and be cruel and petty...leave that to Big Brother and Survivor. I am all about talent and art and THAT is what makes this show so great. And that is what makes the contestants so GREAT. You really LIKE them and ROOT for them and WANT them ALL to win, so the whole show gives off this amazingly POSITIVE vibe and I am SO PROUD for the producers for maintaining it as such.

KEEP this show going...most creative beautifully done talented show out there! It will hook you if you are a fan of artwork or just good talented people in general.
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Fascinating and awesome artwork at times, but turns into a shady reality show in the second season.
ksmail-11 February 2013
The first season was awesome. It felt so much better than the typical reality show with drama and talking behind peoples back, with almost exclusive focus on the art form, which was really refreshing.

In the second season things take a bad turn. The second episode begins by showing a tiny well edited sequence where it is made to appear that one of the models are drowning as they are made to submerge in water, and that an ambulance is needed. This is repeated before a break, and finally In the end we find that this.. does not happen at all. Wtf? At the very end however we find that on the NEXT episode an ambulance is needed, for who the hell knows what. In addition all the contestants seem over the top with their personalities, creating lots of drama with some big egos which becomes a big part of the show.

I guess these guys just did what it took to get better ratings, choosing some talented artists with strong personalities that would conflict, and deceiving you to keep you interested and keep watching the show. Sorry but this sort of ruined the show for me, but that's me. I bet a lot of people would enjoy it nonetheless
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neganscomingback20 February 2019
This show has so much to love about it. The Show never repeats itself. I grew up with this show for 9 years and never once have they repeated itself. This is what a reality show should be like.
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Bright spots but so formulaic and dull in many ways...
mikemaz-9642329 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I started watching this show because I have friends and relatives in the industry including a cousin who started studying A&P in ugrad for medical school and somehow wound up dropping out of college and going to special effects school. Until Face Off I didn't get how one makes that transition - but they never explain the whole anatomy thing.

My girlfriend watches all these competition shows like Project Runway and Top Chef so I started to watch this to see what the draw to these shows are (without watching sewing and cooking). She's made me watch some of those so I made her watch these and she was asleep halfway through each episode.

I honestly don't understand the reviews that go crazy for this show unless they've only watched it for a season or two. It gets numbingly boring after a while which is why they created teams and battle royale and all kinds of stupid nonsense. They didn't bother to change most things from season to season that needed changing and kept things that were dull and tired.

Things That Are Good About Face Off:

The artists are always pretty cool and I liked the team season. It seemed like a lot of the really good ones were brought back and Cig and George definitely added to something this show has almost none of: HUMOR. There was also a 5 minute cover of them goofing around with wigs in Season 9. But for the most part, it si so dull. There are some people over the course of the show that stand out like but the show needed more humor.


Judges like Lois Burwell make the show better when they're on it. The cast of industry people like Doug Jones, Michael Dorn, John Landis and Paul Reubens lighten up the episode and it was good to see Reubens and Vee together. Landis was also amusing on his spin around the block. There are plenty of others I enjoyed seeing and are forgetting, but it's good to have different people on otherwise it would be mind-numbingly boring unless you want to drink every time Glenn frowns at something.

Things That Are Terrible About Face Off

The music is the same from season to season. For the reveal stage is the same and it's annoying and way too loud.It starts in Last Looks and is just completely horrible. GET NEW MUSIC.

The show is so formulatic you almost don't need to watch much before the reveal stage. When an artist is explaining the difference between foam and poly-foam, my eyes roll back in my head. WHO CARES?

What would be better is to explain things that people outside the industry might care about. What is a cowl? What is a prosthetic/appliance? When an artist says, "I'm worried about the technical aspects..." What does THAT mean? I'm going to be running poly-foam on elimination day. What does THAT mean? This list could go on and on. It seems as if they started to explain it in the early seasons but there are so many things I still don't understand.

To the untrained eye, there are makeups you like and then the judges trash it. It would be good to know more about it.

I've never sewn a button on in my life but after watching a few Project Runway episodes, I know more about design and crafting a dress then I know about creating special effects makeup after watching 13 seasons of Face Off.

Mel. What was the judges deal with this? She did not deserve the judge's save and she was the only female left in the all-star season long after she should have been gone. There was a blind spot there and I have no idea how they gave her so many passes. And then she comes back!!! Who is she related to?

Mackenzie Westmore: We know who she's related to.. but her sighing and delivery of elimination statements was so cloying. "So and so, it's been so great having you here...but you have been eliminated." or "Alright judges, let's talk about the makeups that you didn't like...(sigh/sigh/false sympathy for who knows what).

Mackenzie has one speed: untalented sighing and phony sympathy. Not an ounce of range. Good thing daddy has a show otherwise who knows what she'd be doing. Passions on MeTV shown daily at 4 a.m.?

While there should have been less of Mackenzie Westmore, there should have been more of Michael Westmore. Toward the end of the series Makenzie wasn't coming to the mentoring sessions, though I'm not sure why she was there in the first place. They should have spent more time having Mr. Westmore or the judges or someone explain more about what the hell they're doing and why he's giving the advice he gives.

Diversity in the artists: there is none. On the "Mel" season, they got rid of all the other women early without even giving anyone else a chance and then I guess they went "oops" - there's only one woman left...let's keep her. There were some people of color now and again but when the lack of diversity starts annoying a fairly oblivious white guy, you know there's issues.

Grammar on the interviews. I am NOT a grammar nazi, but again, if I've noticed it, something is wrong.I noticed it In the later episodes when one artist used "more happier" and then another used the same improper phrasing on a different episode. After digging into it (it seemed so weird), I learned that most of the interviews are scripted for them.It seems as if the same writer - with bad grammar - drafted the interviews. There were so many "more better" or "that made me more happier" in some of the interviews and I had to rewind to be sure that different artists said the same wrong thing as another artist.

I would love to know more about makeup studios and what they teach there and how one decides where to go and why.
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shackaholic197914 April 2017
The amount of creativity and skill these make up artists have is nothing short of amazing. I love watching this show to see what incredible visions they come up with.

The judges all know their stuff and even though Glenn tries to act mysterious and tough, you can tell that deep down he's just a professional that takes his field and job very seriously.
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A reality show worth enjoying
tiggerjillm20 February 2017
I'm not a huge fan of reality shows but this is one of the exceptions. Most of these contestants are amazingly talented. It's amazing what they are able to conceive & produce in such a short time. The host can be a bit robotic as well as one judges (SMILE ALREADY) but these are small details that pale in comparison to the entertainment and talent that the show delivers. I'm left in awe each week! One other thing I absolutely love about this show is that most of the contestants are willing to lend aide and advice to other contestants even when it's not a team challenge; rarely does there seem to be bitterness or backstabbing.
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