Creepshow Episode 2.3 (Shudder) – Review

Creepshow is back for another stellar episode, firing on all cylinders. Three episodes in, and it’s clear that showrunner Greg Nicotero is not only having tons of fun with this season, but he’s more confident as well. While the first season was good, season two has just been a blast, even with last week’s episode not entirely working for me. The third episode, “The Right Snuff/Sibling Rivalry,” expands the subgenres of the series with two excellent segments. 

THE RIGHT SNUFF

Despite what you may have heard on Twitter a few weeks ago, horror can be set in space. “The Right Snuff” proves that with a throwback sci-fi story that would be as at home in The Twilight Zone and it does in Creepshow. When two astronauts get the chance to make first contact with an extraterrestrial race, tensions develop between them, resulting in cataclysmic consequences. 

Ted (Breckin Meyer) has created a device that can manipulate gravity, and is sent out into space to run tests with it. The captain of the ship is the son of a decorated astronaut, Alex (Ryan Kwanten). Ted is humble and kind, and Meyer plays the “aw, shucks” nature of the character perfectly. Alex, however, is tired of being second fiddle to Ted, desperately trying to escape the shadow of his legendary father. Kwanten excels at selling the growing resentment in his character. You know something awful is going to happen, but the segment takes the slow burn approach to get there. 

All that tension eventually builds to a violent conclusion that is shocking and gut wrenching. The last few minutes also feature some stellar practical effects. The alien that Nicotero’s VFX team created is, pardon the pun, out of this world. It’s a unique design, unlike any film or television creature that comes to mind. The final moments of the show are downright apocalyptic and appropriate in scale. What the creative team does with such a small budget is incredible. 

This is one of those segments that works well as a short, but I feel could also be stretched into a feature length film. There are so many interesting ideas to explore in this story, and while it feels complete, I could have spent a lot more time with these characters in this world. 

SIBLING RIVALRY

“Sibling Rivalry” opens on a teenage girl, Lola (Maddie Nichols), telling the school counselor (Molly Ringwald) that her brother (Andrew Brodeur) is trying to kill her. It was clear from the first moments that this segment was going to have a comedic slant, and it delivers plenty of laughs. Nichols and Ringwald have tremendous chemistry, Nichols as the valley girl teen who can’t stay on topic to save her life, and Ringwald as the skeptical, frustrated adult. 

After that, writer Melanie Dale peels back the layers of Lola’s story, revealing at every turn that not everything is as it seems–especially Lola herself. It’s exceptional in its execution, like the unholy love child of Ginger Snaps and Fright Night. Nichols plays brilliantly off of Brodeur; their sibling relationship sells the second half of the segment. And there’s plenty of blood and guts for gorehounds to slobber over. 

Once again, the practical effects are excellent, with a vampire design unlike any I’ve ever seen. It’s a testament to the Creepshow team that they can take well-worn creatures and make them unique to the show. And once again, this is a segment that could have been stretched into a feature length film. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

This episode of Creepshow left me wanting more in the best way possible. I love the tonal balance this season is striking. It’s much more consistent this time around, and it’s clear that the creativity of the team is flourishing. Shows like this make the uninitiated fall in love with the genre and the genre fans remember why they fell in love with horror in the first place. I’m already chomping at the bit for next week’s episode.

Overall Score 5/5

A new episode of Creepshow drops every Thursday exclusively on Shudder!

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