September 23, 2021 Creepshow (Season 2 Review)
Shudder has been steadily building clout as the premier streaming service for Horror in the few years it has been available. Like any other service, its exclusives are what set it apart from the pack, and along with many films, they have premiered a number of Horror series. Chief among these, at least in name-brand recognition, is Creepshow. The first season in 2019 was a welcome addition and was generally well-received by fans and critics. With Horror legend Greg Nicotero still on-board as producer, and director for some episodes, Season 2 brings nine new, original stories of the marvelous macabre for our viewing pleasure.
A continuation of the beloved ’80s films, Creepshow Season 2, premiering on April Fool’s Day 2021, follows the same format as the previous: two short tales per episode, except for the final episode of the season, all introduced by the titular Creep. The transitions between the comic book to the camera that bookend each story are a franchise staple that never gets old. Each story is about 25 minutes long, which is never enough to overstay its welcome, but in a couple of cases force things along a bit too quickly. For the most part, though, the length is just right for the stories being told.
The first tale in the first episode is called Model Kid, and is an excellent starting point because it sets the tone for what the audience should expect going forward. It focuses on a troubled kid, with an abusive relative and a sick mom, who has a chance to dish out some sweet karma by the end. But it’s not the details of the story that set the expectations; it’s the tone of the writing and performances. A precarious balance must be managed to pull off blending camp and gore, fun without being too over the top and not insulting your audience while doing it. But thankfully, Creepshow season 2 manages to do it well, mostly.
Some tales are better than others, but none are bad. Some of the more memorable include Public Television of the Dead, an absolutely bonkers homage to 1981’s The Evil Dead starring Ted Raimi and featuring a fake Bob Ross and other PBS references that the late Gen-X/early Millennial generation will recognize. Another is the final episode, Night of the Living Late Show, which is another tale that’s an obvious homage, this time to old Horror films of the ‘60s and early ‘70s. Star Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers 2001, Tusk 2014) is superimposed into both Night of the Living Dead (1968) and the Eugenio Martin classic Horror Express (1972), in which the use of archive footage of screen legends Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing is a nice touch.
The performances are pretty spot on throughout. They match the writing and tone of the show and manage the aforementioned balance that’s needed. It was good to see some ‘80s actors we don’t see as much nowadays like Kevin Dillon (The Blob 1988, The Doors 1991), Molly Ringwald (The Breakfast Club 1985, Pretty in Pink 1986), and C. Thomas Howell (Red Dawn 1984, The Hitcher 1986). Additionally, you have solid casting with Josh McDermitt (The Walking Dead series, The Loudest Voice 2019) and Keith David (The Thing 1982, They Live 1988). They all do a commendable job hamming it up and bringing an extra layer of interest to the show.
In all the stories in Creepshow Season 2, we know where things are going and that’s okay. The trick is giving the audience what it wants on the way – bullies getting their comeuppance, the arrogant and greedy being humbled, and homages to beloved Horror classics. Yes, one can say there isn’t a lot to this formula, but it’s exactly what Creepshow is all about and that’s overall the best thing about this show.
It feels like Creepshow, not another watered-down disappointment looking to cash in on a quick flash of nostalgia while missing what made the originals likable. Creepshow is made with purpose, and it does a good job of adding to the franchise in a time when so many others do not. And if you are late to the party, Shudder is quickly releasing more Creepshow with the premiere of season 3 on Thursday, September 23rd. Well worth checking out, Cryptic Rock gives Creepshow Season 2 4 out of 5 stars.