Review: “FEAR ITSELF” – IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH

Posted by Peter Hall - July 29th 2008 @ 10:02 pm

Directed by John Landis, 2008
Written by Victor Salva

Is it fair to say that John Landis has fallen from grace?  Judging from his episode of “FEAR ITSELF”, yes.  Yes. Far, far from grace.  Eons from grace.  Fallen through time, through space, to some twilit zone where Landis is a sleep walking, brain dead, unoriginal, talentless know nothing who isn’t even worthy of helming an episode of “RED SHOE DIARIES”.

IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH is 42 minutes of the most creatively bankrupt television possible.  I wish that was an exaggeration, but it isn’t.  It is worthless in every sense of the word.  I can’t believe I’m still writing about it and I’m only a handful of sentences into the review.   I badly want to escape the memory of this draining wound filled with dialog of an epic staleness.

I just heard two distant thumps on the opposite side of my pitch black house.  Those two thumps, which I’m sure my cats were responsible for, were scarier than anything in this rotten cow patty.   Actually, you know what, I hope it wasn’t my cats.  I hope it was a person who grabbed my axe from downstairs.  I hope it was a ghost.  I, a soul deathly afraid of aliens, hope it was E.T. incarnate come to take me away to an eternal hell of probing.  I hope whatever caused those two distant thumps rushes in this room and causes me such trauma I forget IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH ever stole every ounce of respect I once had for John Landis.

On her wedding day, a bride gets a note that reads, “The person you are marrying is a serial killer.” That’s the plot, which is thinner than the paper the note was written on.  It never develops, never goes anywhere.  This abomination instead consists of an unpersonable bride, her unpersonable gals, her unpersonable fiance and his unpersonable family.  There isn’t a single performance in this dreadful bit of television less agonizing than a skull fuck, which is appropriate because you’ll feel like you were just skull fucked after tolerating this shit.

I shouldn’t even bother mentioning the following is a spoiler alert, since I pray you never see this side of John Landis, but for the pure at heart, take heed and avert your foolish eyes:   Not even 10 minutes into the headache and Christine joked aloud, “I bet the note was meant for the groom.” I slapped my handsome face.  Of course it was.  It made perfect sense.  Why?  Because it made no sense, of course.  They would pull some stupid, pointless, arrogant twist like that.  But Christine blew my convictions off.  “But that doesn’t make any sense.  They wouldn’t be that dumb.” Oh, but they are.  Mick Garris and Victor Salva think they’re sooo fucking clever, which is precisely why such a moronic twist is such an obvious move in their playbook.

Look, I’m all for twists if they shed new light on an already interesting story.  But when they are so clearly thrown in to serve no further purpose than to wrench final ounces from a soulless production that exists only because someone invented the twist in the first palce, well, they do my head in.  And sadly, the twist isn’t the worst thing about IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH.  There is so much bad in this outhouse, I’m not confident I can sift through the embarrassment to salvage just one worst thing.

Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrghhhhh, soooo bad.  Sooooooooo bad!  I just want to punch John Landis in th- – Another thump!

Be soon, sweet release, be soon!

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rss 2 comments
  1. R.J. Sayer
    July 30th, 2008 | 11:55 am | #1

    hey man, you watch what you say about the Red Shoe Diaries.

    as for Landis… serves the murdering fuck right.

  2. Marigold Fennick
    August 11th, 2008 | 2:28 pm | #2

    This is what happens when someone who usually does feature films does short fiction, which should almost never exist in cinematic form to begin with. When this mistake is made, we see people who are used to having 90-120 minutes to work with, are forced to fit it into 40 minutes. Doesn’t give them time to develop stories as they normally would. When you really think about it you find two reasons for the failure of projects like Fear Itself and the Landis film in question. One is the people don’t realize generally speaking, we like long stories. The days of Rod Sterling and Alfred Hitchcock are unfortunately gone. The only way to make short fiction like this work is to serialize it. A good example is Blood Trails in Dust to Dust. Another workable concept is several related shorts set in the Saw universe. Similar to what was done with the animatrix and Gotham Knights. I know this is just one man’s opinion but i believe it very strongly

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