In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Two More Down.

On NBC, Fear Itself continues to soldier on. Here are my thoughts on the latest pair of episodes.

The fifth offering is a little ditty called “Eater”. A serial killer who likes to eat his victims spends the night in holding at a sleepy police station during a winter storm. This spells danger for rookie cop Bannerman (Elisabeth Moss), as she realizes that her charge may be even more deadly than she imagined.

Eater is a top-notch entry into the series, possibly the best yet. It has an unusual distinction of getting better as it progresses. It starts off fairly average, yet ends strong. It had elements of Carpenter (namely Assault On Precinct 13 and The Thing), but with a more supernatural edge. The score is also good, very pounding and methodical and not what you would expect from a claustrophobic piece like this.

I don’t recall there being credits at the top of the episode, so I was trying to figure out who directed it while I was watching. I never would have guessed Stuart Gordon, even though his fingerprint of doing a lot with very little – it has five characters and largely one location – was plainly there to see. I’d say Eater was better than BOTH of Gordon’s Masters Of Horror episodes (Dreams In The Witch House & The Black Cat), which goes against the general consensus that you need the boundless domain of cable to do horror well. Although, I will say that Eater is the most brutal Fear Itself episode to date. There were definitely a couple of moments that I was surprised they got by the primetime watchdogs.

I think with this episode and last year’s shockingly good feature Stuck, Gordon is really coming into his own as a filmmaker. His fantastical efforts like Re-animator and Dagon are defining moments to be sure, but his more recent grounded efforts – 2003's King Of The Ants is another overlooked gem – are really stretching his boundaries.

Next, is Darren Lynn Bousman’s (Saw II, Repo!) entry called “New Year’s Day”. A woman (Briana Evigan) wakes up New Year’s Day to find her city has been overrun with zombies.

Ok, Mr. Bousman. I have one question for you. You had a hot chick and a zombie apocalypse… How did you fuck that up?!

Just when I thought Fear Itself was hitting its stride, Bousman gives us the worst one so far. It was definitely the first episode where I engaged in some clock watching, as there was very little here that wasn’t completely pedestrian. The editing style was maddening. I’m not talking about the fractured narrative – although that didn’t really work either – I mean all this tired stuff with the sped up camera. Who thought this was a good idea? I assume this was supposed to be some sort of device of perception, but all it does is come off as totally amateurish.

New Year’s Day was written by Steve “30 Days Of Night” Niles. You are still in my good books Steve, but I have to respectfully suggest that giving away your conclusion in the first thirty seconds is perhaps not an advisable course of action. Being five steps ahead of the characters at all times did nothing to enhance my experience. The tragedy here is that New Year’s Day was a clever and original idea that was wasted because it shot itself in the foot at every turn.

Six episodes in, the up and down trajectory of Fear Itself continues.

No comments: