By Kevin Hoskinson
The Shudder original series Creepshow continues to deliver the scares and the laughs in its second episode, and it offered two stories that couldn’t be more different.
The show starts with “Bad Wolf Down,” which is written and directed by Rob Schrab. The story is about a group of American soldiers trapped behind enemy lines during WWII. Taking cover in an old police station, they soon find themselves surrounded by a vengeful Nazi officer and his men. They also discover that they aren’t alone in the police station, as a mysterious woman locked in one of the cells, who might be something supernatural, attracts their attention. With the odds stacked against them, they discover an unusual way to make it out alive.
The second story is “The Finger,” directed by Greg Nicotero and written by David J. Schow. This one stars DJ Qualls as a recently divorced blogger whose life is about to get a whole lot worse. He’s unhappy, lives alone, and begins by telling us how his life fell apart. He used to be married, but not anymore. He was unemployed and took up blogging to make some cash. He’s also a collector of random things he finds on his walks, including an inhuman finger he found lying on the street one day. Soon that finger starts to grow into something else, a new companion for his lonely life. Not just any companion though, one with deadly tendencies, one that might be precisely what he needs. Or is it?
They always say to save the best for last, and the last couple episodes of Creepshow have lived by that. While I enjoyed both stories, it was “The Finger” that I loved.
“Bad Wolf Down” was a fun, practical effects-heavy, old school creature feature. It had the look and style of an old grindhouse horror film, and while I appreciated that, it left a lot to be desired. The characters were believable, and as fleshed out as they could be, it was the performances, writing, and execution that didn’t quite hit the mark. Instead of feeling like it came from a specific era, it felt like an imitation of something from the era. Everyone involved did the best they could with the material, and it was a compelling short story, it just didn’t feel authentic.
“The Finger” was another practical effect heavy story, but this one was a lot more effective. Comparing the two would be unfair because they are tonally different, but this one was my favorite. This is a story about a man who is already at the bottom, and the only way he should be able to go is up. And while it can be argued that he does go up, at least in his own messed up little world, most sane, ordinary people would say his life gets worse. DJ Qualls gives a tortured performance, but one that is fun and off the wall. He transforms into a man who has lost everything and has nothing left to care for. When he screams at a debt collector over the phone, you genuinely feel bad for the person on the other line. His relationship with the finger creature (who he affectionately names “Bob”) feels real, and the bond grows stronger throughout. This is DJ’s time to shine, and he does an incredible job, with 95% of the story focused on him alone. The design of the creature is incredible, as well as the direction, writing, and even the set design. This segment feels the most Creepshow so far, and that isn’t a surprise with horror vets Nicotero (who worked on the original movie) and Schow behind it.
With this second episode, the show has delivered a divisive episode, but one that is worth watching. Both of the stories have something fun to offer, but as stated above, the second story is the standout of the two. If you have Shudder, it’s a great way to kill an hour.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Check out new episodes of Creepshow every Thursday night only on Shudder.
Kevin Hoskinson is a writer with a deep-seeded love for movies, comic books, television and the paranormal. From humble beginnings working the box office at his local movie theater, he’s worked his way to becoming a humble family man and professional bug exterminator. Growing up, he wanted to become an astronaut, a Ghostbuster, a dinosaur, and a Disney animator before he found his passion for writing as a teen. He studied film at Los Angeles Valley College with an emphasis on screenwriting and film criticism. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two kids. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter @Kevin_Hoskinson, and Instagram @kevinhoskinson.