Yes, I am still behind on my reviews for this show. That’s what happens when your internet is not always fast enough to stream things. But, enough preamble, onto my Creepshow S01 E04 review.
The two terrifying tales in this installment are quite disparate in nature, though they do share some similarities. For starters, they both are creepy as hell, which is a nice change. I don’t mean to say that the previous two episodes haven’t had their moments, but overall they’ve lacked in creepiness. This episode, however, offers two stories to make your flesh crawl.
The first one The Companion tells the story of Harry, a teenage boy with a bully for a brother. We first meet Harry as he fishes in a shallow stream, the first indication things aren’t all right. After all, it’s quite difficult to catch fish in three or four inches of water. It doesn’t take long to confirm our suspicions that things are off due to Smitty’s arrival. Smitty is Harry’s good friend, and he stops because he sees Harry’s bike. Well, that, and he’s in the mood for some chocolate he has stashed near the river.
I like Smitty, and wish he had been in the episode more, though I understand why he wasn’t. Still, he and Harry had good rapport that would have been fun to continue through the episode. After Smitty leaves, Harry is once again left all alone. This moment of isolation, though brief, turns out to be one of the creepiest moments in the story. Why? Well, because the camera pans on the serene surroundings, which soon become ominous thanks to some quick edits and spooky sounds.
Creepshow S01 E04 The Companion Scares With Its Sounds
Speaking of spooky sounds, whoever did the Foley effects on this episode is a genius. Every sound effect is perfect for maximizing the tension and ambiance of what is happening on the screen. This aspect of the story is especially later on, but it works well here, too.
In fact, the majority of this story’s scariness came from the sound effects. Not to give too much away, but there is a living scarecrow with roots and twigs as part of it. When it moves, these materials make a crunching and scraping sound that’s enough to make your hair stand on end. It’s super effective in creating an oppressively dread filled atmosphere.
Regarding the rest of this excerpt of Creepshow S01 E04, it delivers entertainment in spades. It moves at a quick pace, never getting bogged down. And while it provides some exposition for the strange occurrences, even that feels organic and needed. At no point was I in danger of losing interest. Finally, the design work on The Companion itself was top notch, and the ending, while expected, still managed a surprise or two.
This story definitely ranks among the top of the ones featured in the series so far.
Lydia Layne’s Better Half Punishes Betrayal
Normally, when I write these reviews I look for a common theme between the two stories in each episode. Sometimes, that commonality is a stretch, but I can make it. However, in the case of Creepshow S01 E04, the thematic connection is too far. While The Companion and Lydia Layne’s Better Half both address the idea of loved ones betraying us, that’s about all they have in common. Well, maybe we could add loved ones returning to life because of the power we give them to the list. Still, the connection is razor thin at best.
None of this is to say that the story of Lydia and her better half is bad. On the contrary, it is another strong entry in the series. Whereas The Companion gave us the expanses of nature, Lydia finds us in an LA area office building.
The story is simple. Lydia, played by Tricia Helfer, is Woman of the Year. She’s the CEO or owner of a company, and is deciding who should be her new CFO. Her choices are white man Tom, and woman of color Celia (you’re breaking my heart). She chooses Tom, much to to Celia’s (my confidence is shaken) discontent. (And yes, I know the Simon and Garfunkel song is Cecilia, but at times it sounds like Celia. Shut up!)
Lydia and Celia (humiliation) fight, and it turns out they are a couple. Then Lydia inadvertently murders Celia, making this a Creepshow episode. If these two segments have any thematic resonance, it’s those we love will hurt and disappoint us.
After the (wo)manslaughter things go from bad to worse. In a stroke of storytelling genius and continuity, an earthquake that happens early has ramifications for later. A much appreciated set up and payoff.
Creepshow S01 E04 Lydia Layne’s Better Half Uses Musical Cues to Creep
Eventually, we find Lydia and Celia trapped in an elevator. This moment should feel claustrophobic, but it doesn’t. It could be because it’s an executive elevator, or just how the scenes are shot. Either way, I never felt the smallness of the elevator. Still, there was some good comedy, and some truly ‘ew’ moments in this episode. The use ‘Woman of the Year’ trophy particularly stands out.
And while the smallness of the elevator didn’t come through for me, Lydia’s descent into desperation and despair did. I am not a huge fan of Helfer (I dislike the new BSG very much) but she puts in a powerhouse performance here.
Unlike the first story in this episode, this one relies on the music to create tension rather than sounds. While this technique has its drawbacks: tipping off the viewer something will happen being the chief one, it works here. Sure, the cues can get a little over the top at times, but the story is over the top, so it works. It not only creates emotional responses in the viewer, but it helps establish the unreality of the events in the story. Both portions of this episode use sound (whether music or effect, and sometimes both) to enhance the thrills and chills. For that, I applaud them.
I liked Creepshow S01 E04 a lot. In fact, I probably consider it the second strongest episode of the season after episode 1.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading. You can read the rest of my Creepshow reviews here.