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Fear Itself: “Spooked” – 6

Director – Brad Anderson

Cast – Eric Roberts, Cynthia Watros, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Jack Noseworthy, Liam James

Release Year – 2008

Reviewed by John of the Dead

A former-cop-turned-private eye is hired to spy on a woman’s husband. While staking out a haunted house, he finds himself confronted by past demons. – Netflix

Finally, a decent Fear Itself episode that I did not love but did not hate either. This entry comes directed by horror favorite Brad Anderson, who in my opinion has not achieved greatness but definitely has solid talent and creates excellent atmosphere. His debut film, Session 9, was hit/miss with most genre fans (7/10 in my eyes), and his sophomore effort, Vanishing on 7th Street, fared a little less than its predecessor and only suffered story-related issues. The writer, Matt Venne, wrote the enjoyable “Pelts” (directed by Dario Argento) entry for the Masters of Horror series, as well as White Noise 2: The Light, Mirrors 2, and the Bag of Bones TV series.

I enjoyed the storyline for Spooked and watching Harry (the former cop) go from celebrated by loathed officer to a somber private investigator fighting to stay away from his past. What happened to Harry? Well, Harry had a knack for getting what he wanted from perpetrators, and one day made headlines when he saved the life of a senator’s kidnapped daughter, but at the expense of having to kill the kidnapper to find out where the little girl was hidden. He lost his job because of this, but avoided jail time for the killing due to the politics involved in saving the senator’s daughter. Now a seasoned private investigator dealing mostly with clients wanting to catch a cheating lover, he takes on a gig that requires him to hole out in a vacant home across the street from a man allegedly cheating on his wife. Soon after Harry begins work within the vacant home he begins to experience haunting visions and phenomena involving his troubled past, a past he thought he left…in the past. As the experiences progress in severity he learns that something is definitely wrong with this case..and all hell breaks loose.

Director Brad Anderson did a great job setting up the film, with incredible atmosphere and a very creepy set used for the vacant home Harry is doing his investigating from. The initial horror was great, with most of it consisting of audible terror and creepy shadows terrorizing Harry, but as the film went on I felt that the horror diminished when revelations in the story were brought to light. He horror eventually manifested into a tangible form that I did not find very creepy, and the story’s climax was less than favorable and a bit of a letdown. I will say that I was thankful for the live-action horror and very little usage of CGI during the film’s keys scenes, but the cons of the final act were the reason this entry did not receive a higher rating.

Overall, “Spooked” is a decent episode of Fear Itself that provides good atmosphere and positive horror at first, but eventually winds down and finishes in an unsatisfactory way.

Rating: 6/10

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