Face Off TV Poster Image

Face Off

Special effects competition includes some gruesome faces.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series underscores the importance of good workmanship and skill when it comes to working with special effects makeup. But it also plays up the competitive aspect of the show, highlighting personal differences.

Positive role models

The contestants are creative and passionate. Some reveal some competitive behavior; the judges are not always constructive with their criticism. 


Many of the characters created are bloody, grotesque, and/or frightening.


Some challenges require the use of nude models; no nudity is shown.


Curses like “s--t” are bleeped.


Winners receive a year's supply of makeup from Alcone.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking (wine, champagne, mixed drinks) is visible.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality competition series, which features special effects make up artists competing for a career-launching prize, include some bloody and grotesque images that could frighten young children.The show also includes some bleeped curses (like “s -t”), some occasional drinking (wine; champagne), and some bickering among contestants.

What's the story?

FACE OFF centers on the imaginative world of special effects makeup. Hosted by McKenzie Westmore, the series features 12 aspiring special effects artists competing in a variety of challenges that require them to use molds, prosthetics, paint, and other tools to transform models into characters like aliens and horror villains. They reveal their finished work to a renowned panel of judges, including Academy-Award winner Ve Neill, make-up effects artist Glenn Hetrick, and creature designer Patric Tatopoulos. Those who manage to demonstrate good technique and creativity to stay in the game, while those failing to impress are eliminated. The winner of the competition gets $100,000 and a year's supply of professional makeup.

Is it any good?


The series offers an interesting look into the work and artistry that goes into the special effects make up that is featured in today’s film and television. But the show’s focus is really on the competition itself, which often leads to some mild bickering among the contestants and some snarky comments from the judges.

It’s not as edgy as other reality competitions, but the challenges featured here are interesting. Those looking for in-depth discussions of make up effect technique and design won’t really find it here. But viewers interested in this kind of work will still find it entertaining.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about special effects. Is there a movie or TV show that has special effects that you find particularly impressive? What kinds of things can special effects create? Hide?

  • Does this show exaggerate the personal differences between competitors? How do the show's producers edit and augment the show to make it compelling?

TV details

Premiere date:January 26, 2011
Cast:Glenn Hetrick, McKenzie Westmore, Ve Neill
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:NR

This review of Face Off was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byBianca Becerra February 5, 2011
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bysteph/vampire July 13, 2011

if you like art and makeup this is for you

im 14 and i loved the first season so if they have another one i bet id like it to!
Teen, 14 years old Written byI love the book... April 4, 2011

disappointed in the challanges

I love the creativity each contestant showed us through their model's costumes and make-up. I just wish the challenges could have been a little more exciting....