Creepshow Episode 2.5 (Shudder) – Review

This week’s season finale of Creepshow’s second season only contains one segment, rather than the typical two. I was surprised and a bit disappointed to realize that the second season was only five episodes long rather than the six of the previous season. That said, Creepshow has been firing on all cylinders this season, and the episode’s premise sounded promising. Unfortunately, the sole segment of the finale is a bit of a dud, ending a really good season of horror with a whimper instead of a bang. 

“NIGHT OF THE LIVING LATE SHOW”

This full-length Creepshow segment has a great premise. An inventor and horror film lover (Justin Long) builds a virtual reality chamber that allows the user to go into any movie of their choice. Throw in some marital problems in the form of a wife (D’Arcy Carden) who suspects he only married her for money, and you’ve got an interesting set up. It feels like Creepshow by way of Black Mirror–until it doesn’t. 

The biggest issue with this episode is that it feels drawn out, with footage from other movies taking up at least a quarter of the run time. The editing and VFX work are fun to watch as they incorporate Justin Long into 1972’s Horror Express and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. But much of the old footage, Long isn’t even a part of, and it does little to further the plot. At times, it feels like the episode is just a highlight reel for Horror Express. If you, like this writer, have not yet seen Horror Express, it’s low on nostalgia.

Long and Carden attempt in vain to bring life to wooden and stilted dialogue. Long’s character is wholly unlikeable as he manipulates and gaslights his wife in order to spend more time with a fictional character who he’s been crushing on since childhood. And Carden’s character is hardly fleshed out, leaving no one to root for. By the time the episode reaches an anti-climactic ending, it’s hard to care about either of them. 

Even the wraparound scenes with the Creep feel drawn out and unnecessary, with video game simulations of old Romero zombie flicks taking way too long. It’s meant to fit into the VR theme of the episode, but becomes redundant. It makes one wonder if this segment was originally going to be paired with the cancelled Marilyn Manson segment. The amount of recycled footage suggests that this was never supposed to be a forty-minute stand alone episode. There’s a great story somewhere in there from writer Dana Gould, but it’s a struggle to find it under the excessive padding.

It would seem that the better creative choice would have been to extend a different segment or just release this segment as a short, twenty-minute episode. After all, with no traditional network guidelines, the freedom was there. I appreciate what it’s aiming for; it’s a swing for the fences that unfortunately whiffs it. It’s a shame, given how good the season has been thus far. But hey, at least it gives me a reason to watch Horror Express

FINAL THOUGHTS

While the sophomore season of Creepshow ended on a letdown, I still found it, as a whole, to be an absolute blast. Nicotero heavily experimented this time around, and it paid off more often than not. This was a more consistent season than its predecessor, while leaning into the dark humor that the Creepshow brand is known for. Disappointing finale aside, I still can’t wait to see what Nicotero cooks up for Season Three!

Overall Score 2/5

Every episode of Creepshow is streaming NOW exclusively on Shudder!

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