Last week’s episode of Creepshow showed us the frights of the murder tourism business and the high cost of pest extermination. This week’s episode features two tales of terror, one out of this world and another in the horrors of high school while both showcasing that beyond aliens and monsters, the greatest human fears of all are within…
Our first segment is The Right Snuff, following the dual crew-members of a futuristic new space transport called the Occula as it readies for its maiden voyage near the moon. The astronauts tasked with this mission are the optimistic Major Ted Lockwood, (Breckin Meyer, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare) a brilliant scientist who constructed the ship’s revolutionary gravitational well engine. And the embittered Captain Alex Toomey (Ryan Kwanten, True Blood) who is desperately trying to escape from the eclipse of his father’s shadow, the first man to set foot on Mars. As the mission takes an unexpected course after being notified by their mission control, Sandra (Gabrielle Byndloss, The Outsider) tensions run high and Toomey fears that the meek and idealistic Lockwood will steal his glory. But Toomey’s own character flaws may cause cataclysmic consequences in his hunt for fame amongst the stars.
An intense sci-fi thrill ride from director Joe Lynch (Mayhem, Wrong Turn 2) and written by Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series) Stephen Langford (Club Dead) and Creepshow showrunner Greg Nicotero, The Right Snuff is one giant leap for the horror anthology into the endless vacuum of space. An environment that is just rife for all manner of extraterrestrial terrors and cosmic horror, but the story dwells on how human flaws and insecurities can be far more deadly than the unknown. Ryan Kwanten gives an excellent performance as Captain Toomey, a man reaching for the heavens but still held back by the ghostly weight of his father’s own success which haunts him with a literal shade and voice mocking him. Meyer in turn serves as a great contrast, a man driven by idealism and want to help mankind rather than himself. These two opposite personalities at first acting friendly on the ship and in interviews, but Toomey’s growing rage eventually breaks him and everything they worked for.
This story was more evocative of classic sci-fi anthologies of old such as The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits than the usual karmic Creepshow fare, emphasizing how a lack of humanity could very well doom humans. The aesthetic and style of the story was also befitting of old school science fiction, Joe Lynch even posting this informative Letterboxd list of the idealistic sci-fi influences for his segment via twitter for a more in-depth look into the making of it. Lynch does a great job of balancing the bright and shiny interior of the ship with the grim events that are unfolding between the two astronauts. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of those signature Creepshow twists, turns, blood, and beasties to be had. In many ways, it’s a story as dark as the shadowed side of the moon and one of the most bleak tales to emerge from the franchise.
The latter story of this week’s episode is Sibling Rivalry. Lola (Maddie Nichols, Ann Rule’s A Murder to Remember) seeks help from her guidance counselor Ms. Porter (Molly Ringwald, The Breakfast Club) with a dire case: her brother is trying to kill her! At least, that’s what scatterbrained and easily distracted Lola thinks, going on tangents about a sleepover at her friend Grace’s ( Ja’Ness Tate, Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B and B Robbery) house and what she had for breakfast much to Ms. Porter’s repeated annoyance. Lola regales a series of events and conflicts with her brother Andrew (Andrew Brodeur, Tall Girl) that led her to suspect he’s trying to take her out, only to realize there’s far wider angles to this tale of possible sororicide.
Directed by Tales From the Hood‘s Rusty Cundief and written by author/podcaster Melanie Dale, Sibling Rivalry is a lot more on the lighter side than the prior segment but with plenty more gore to be had. Cundief and Dale craft a fast paced, funny, and thrilling tale as Lola attempts to prove her case to the increasingly skeptical Ms. Porter as the teenager attempts to backtrack the many different ways she grew suspicious of her brother. Which is why I was a bit disappointed it didn’t keep this format for the majority of the episode. Switching to a more traditional narrative once realization takes over and things come to a head.
Maddie Nichols does a phenomenal job in the role of Lola and attempting to piece together all the different weird events that led her to the guidance counselor’s office, making for a number of particularly funny jokes at the different mindsets of the two. Such as Lola concerned that her brother was planning on buying weapons online, which also concerns Ms. Porter… until Lola says he was buying medieval styled weapons which isn’t as big a deal to the counselor. And while there are some twists and turns, they did feel a bit easy to pick up on if you pay well enough attention. Still, Sibling Rivals is a pretty solid Creepshow story and entertaining to watch unfold. Also featuring some particularly exemplary practical and special FX hybridized once things get brutal. Don’t want to spoil anything, but there were some kill scenes that made me cringe- in the best ways possible!
Overall, another solid deadly duo of Creepshow stories for Season 2 for this halfway point. With three episodes to go, who knows what horrors await us next…
Creepshow airs new episodes every Thursday on Shudder.