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Fear Itself: “Eater” – 5


Director – Stuart Gordon

Cast – Elisabeth Moss, Russell Hornsby, Stephen Lee, Stephen R. Hart, Pablo Schreiber

Release Year – 2008

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I took my sweet time getting to the Mick Garris-created Fear Itself series because I just assumed the show was of a lesser quality than its predecessor cousin, Masters of Horror (also created by Mick Garris). What is Fear Itself? Much like Masters of Horror, Fear Itself is a series of TV “episodes/films”of about 45 minutes in length, each directed by a known director of the horror genre. After viewing the series I do believe I was right about the show being of lesser quality than Masters of Horror, but in the end the show is not a waste of time and manages to give us short horrific experiences without these being “short” films.

Rookie Officer Bennerman, and avid horror film buff, has been assigned to watch the police station overnight along with two of her partners. Tonight is not a routine night though, as only hours prior a man was finally caught and brought in for holding after committing over thirty “Silence of the Lambs”-style murders. As the night progresses the station begins to suffer odd occurrences in relation to the capture of the killer, a killer who uses his cajun understanding of hoodoo witchcraft to toy with his captors.

This story comes written by Richard Chizmar and horror actor Johnathon Schaech (Quarantine, Prom Night remake, Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2), both of whom were responsible for writing an episode of Masters of Horror titled “The Washingtonians”. With only 41 minutes of actual film it does not take long for the story to get going, with the gigantic and utterly creepy prisoner brought in just as night falls and a storm is brewing in the distance. Bannerman begins to hear strange noises from the floor above, which is where the prisoner is being held, and along with the strange disappearances and reappearances of her partners she becomes aware that something is definitely not right in the lowly police station. Without giving too much away all I can say is that eventually we learn that the killer has perfected the art of hoodoo and is able to shape-shift, which made for some decent horror but nothing to marvel over. We really do not see any kills take place on-screen and are only left with the after-effect, and poor dialogue left me mostly uninterested in what was going on, building up to a climax that was as lame as the story.

Famed horror director Stuart Gordon directs this piece, which paled in comparison to the films he directed for Masters of Horror, titled “The Black Cat” and the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired Dreams in the Witch House. His atmosphere was spot-on and he made the most of the tiny location used for all of the film’s scenes, but it was his execution that I found lacking. Aside from “The Black Cat” I have not come across a great film from Stuart Gordon in a really long time and his lack of directing prominence shows in this piece. This was not a horrible effort from Gordon, as the killer had an enjoyable look and there was live-action gore available, although the kill-sequences were not shown onscreen. What really bothered me the most though was his execution of the actors performances once things got going. I absolutely hated how they were portrayed when the killer was having his “way” with them and found it utterly cheesy in the worst sense of the word, leaving a rotten experience for one who expected more from a horror great.

Overall, “Eater” was a decent entry into the Fear Itself series that I would not recommend you view. Maybe the entry will be worth its weight in dirt if you have nothing better to do on a lonely night and need help sleeping, but even then there are much better choices out there.

Rating: 5/10

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