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Belittling Horror Excessively: Terror Tract02:18 AM -- Mon October 14, 2013

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: John Ritter is a real estate agent showing people various houses, only he can't seem to resist detailing the gory details of how the previous owners died in each house. Anthology ensues!

Scariness Type: There are a bunch of jump scares, and some gore.

Rating: 2/5 Grannies.

Body Count: 13 people, 2 cats, 1 dog, a worm and a bird. At least half of the human deaths occur in the last minute of the movie, so that's exciting!

Fun Fact: Bryan Cranston (who's the star of the 2nd story in this anthology) played opposite the exact same monkey (the villain of the 2nd story) in an episode of Malcolm In The Middle.

Best Story: The third story is about a teenager who's been having psychic visions of a serial killer. He goes to a psychologist and is telling her about this (of course she doesn't believe him, and she's worried he's the killer). This segment had an interesting killer (the "Granny Killer" - he wears this old lady mask which is really creepy, way better than the stupid Scream mask. But he also says goofy things in a granny voice like "Why are you scared? It's only Granny!"), and a fun, if small, mystery. I'm not saying it was great, it was still cheesy and pretty lame, but it was the best one.

Worst Story: And for worst story, we have the first story - a woman is cheating on her husband, but he had found about it already, so he snuck back home early and was going to kill both her and her lover, but ends up killed himself. The rest of the story involves the difficulty of hiding the evidence of his death (because nobody in movies is ever willing to consider just telling the truth... he was trying to murder them, they wouldn't have gone to jail!), and of course the possibility of his vengeful spirit returning. It's pretty slow and very cheesy, and just oozes 80's Tales From The Crypt drama. It ends with one of those lame non-twists, the kind of thing that just amounts to "wasn't that weird?" because it doesn't mean anything or change anything.

The Other Story: The middle story is about Malcolm's dad battling an evil monkey that his daughter really likes and doesn't think is evil. It's very silly. It's fun, mainly because of Bryan Cranston's ability to look distraught and freak out about things. But it's very, very dumb.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: This was all so silly and ridiculous. In the first story, there's a guy with no special training who holds his breath underwater effortlessly for at least 2 minutes, just calmly swimming around. I was feeling much more nervous than he was. The second story is one big pile of insanity, I can't really point to a specific element. The third story I find much easier to swallow, nothing was hugely wrong with it, I'd say. And the wrap-around story? Well, that was basically a cartoon. My disbelief remained firmly affixed to the floor for this entire movie, no suspension occurred.

Horror Tropes: The first story is just one giant trope, it's like it's straight out of one of those "101 Weird Spooky Tales!" books, right down to the wet footprints and creaking gate. The second story includes not one, but two, instances of placing your hand in blood without looking and then looking at your hand, and then looking to see what's so bloody and freaking out. The third story includes the classic "I have something for you!" while reaching into your jacket pocket and the other person takes you to be threatening to kill them. Just use your words, people, I'm always saying it.

My Take: This movie, released in 2000, should've been from about 1985. Every single thing about it screams 80's, to the point that I assume it was intended. They weren't just going for silly horror, they intended to create something that looked like it was from the 80's, and they succeeded beyond all reason (perhaps it's why they hired John Ritter, even). It's such a crazy throwback that I feel like there must be some kind of story behind the production, though I can't seem to find it. Overall, it's about what you'd expect - really silly lightweight horror with a Tales From The Crypt feel, so it's more half-intended comedy than it is horror. I had fun watching it, as I am guaranteed to with an anthology, although the stories did get progressively better from a rather uninteresting first story through to the pretty decent third story. The wrap-around story of the real estate agent showing houses was fun to watch, but really wasn't even a story. It did have an entertaining ending though!

Missed Opportunity: It's the opposite problem we found with ABCs of Death - if they had just jammed in one more story in this movie, then the existing stories could've been tightened up more and I think the result would've been something more fun.

The Lesson: Make sure you inquire about the neighborhood when buying a house.

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