Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Season 2 Episode 1
“The Damned Thing”
Teleplay by Richard Christian Matheson; based on the short story by Ambrose Bierce; directed by Tobe Hooper

Sheriff Kevin Reddle (Powder’s Sean Patrick Flanery, though perhaps more widely seen as TV’s Young Indiana Jones) is the law in the small town of Cloverdale, suddenly faced with the recurrence of a terror that struck 24 years ago, turning his loving father into a homicidal maniac and leaving him an orphan.
As it turns out, the titular “damned thing” is intimately connected to the Reddle family, unleashed by the Sheriff’s grandfather, a primordial entity whose coming is accompanied by flurries of violence and mayhem, perpetrated by otherwise normal everyday people.

Though “The Damned Thing” is by no means a terrible film, it still doesn’t get far beyond stretches of quiet character moments, punctuated by instances of explosive gore and bloodletting. And though director Hooper takes his time with the characters—as he did on Poltergeist—what we do see of them doesn’t make us sympathize with them enough to really care about the outcome of the story. (It is a kick though to see Sam’s brother, Ted Raimi, as Father Tulli.)
And not only is the big CGI reveal of “the damned thing” a bit of a letdown, the story’s ending also serves as a big “So what?” to cap off this season’s not-so-grand opening.

(The Damned Thing DVD cover art courtesy of amazon.com.)

(Originally posted 031107.)

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