Up first this week is Watcher. Maika Monroe plays a woman who moves to Bucharest with her husband because he got a new job there. She doesn’t speak Romanian and doesn’t fit in because of it. They move into an apartment complex and she feels like someone across from them is watching her. When a murder happens in the neighborhood they learn there is a serial killer locally and she believes the person watching her is the killer. But no one else agrees and the man says she’s stalking him and it’s her not fitting into the culture. You sit watching the Watcher wondering if it’s her struggling and losing it or if there’s more to her neighbor until the end when it finally goes off the rails. Monroe is good and overall I liked the film, but we’ve definitely seen similar movies. The pacing is solid which is always necessary for a psychological drama. If you are looking for something new you haven’t seen to get in the horror spirit you might like this. I don’t know if I’d watch it again, but it’s good enough for a view.
Second we have They Crawl Beneath. Most of the budget for this film seems to have gone to the creature effects which are very good. I love old-school creature features and this is about giant worm type monsters that come up from the ground after an earthquake. Unfortunately the acting isn’t very good. I’ve been a fan of Michael Pare since Eddie & The Cruisers, but even he can’t elevate the acting in this. The lead just isn’t that good and he’s the predominant figure in it. It seems to take place in the US, but I’d guarantee it was shot elsewhere. It’s a generic area with most of the movie taking place in a garage. A better lead would have made it a good movie. The creatures are practical effects which I love, but the filmmaking and acting isn’t on par. I was hoping for a cult classic like Tremors, but it’s nowhere near as good or fun.
Third we have The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series. Jordan Peele brought back The Twilight Zone for a new generation and I don’t think it was the hit they expected it to be. Peele serves as the narrator through the two seasons and unfortunately most of it feels like an agenda piece. Sure the original series brought light to certain issues using sci-fi and horror elements to entertain while educate, but this one seemed agenda based first, entertaining second. There are episodes and stories I liked, but as a whole I was disappointed in the series. The weakest is probably the struggling singer one who gets unwanted fame. My favorite might be one of the earliest episodes with the standup comic who goes from bombing to killing after making a deal. It’s a classic Twilight Zone type storyline in my book. The Adam Scott on a plane that will go missing episode is also classic Twilight Zone storytelling. Unfortunately there are so many other episodes that left me wanting something different despite the huge names who appear throughout the show. But if you were a fan, here is the complete series for your collection.
Star Trek: Picard Season 2 is out on home video this week. This is a series I want to like more than I do. Patrick Stewart made the character iconic in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but this series doesn’t quite deliver what that show did. Stewart is still great in the role and season two has a lot of fan favorites in it like Seven of Nine, Guinan, Q and Wesley, but it feels lackluster compared to what we loved. Season 2 involved time travel with Picard and his cohorts traveling back to 2024. Like Season One I feel the second season relies too much on character development and not enough action. Yes it’s all about Picard, but the fun of Star Trek is the action and adventures every series went on. This is all about Picard letting go of his past through a trial until he can ultimately be returned to his own timeline. I really want to love this show and will watch Season 3 when it comes my way in a year or two, but I had such high hopes for Stewart’s return.
Speaking of shows I loved, Dexter gets a new Complete Series box set that includes Dexter: New Blood with it. Dexter is one of my favorite shows of the past 20 years and sure not everyone loves the ending, but with New Blood we did get some closure (and maybe a continuation with a different character going forward). It’s a show I will continue to rewatch and pick up new things I missed. The season with John Lithgow as the Trinity Killer is one of TV’s best seasons. Michael C. Hall was perfect as Dexter, a crime scene analyst who had a secret, he liked to kill bad guys. He had an inner demon he called his dark passenger and through the seasons he was always close to being caught. Hall was fantastic and the rest of the cast was solid as well. Most fans didn’t like the series finale, it felt like a cop out, but with New Blood, it closed out the Dexter storyline pretty decently. I feel it was a bit rushed and could have used another couple of episodes to really close it out and kick open a new door, but overall I’m ok with the one season revival. If you are a fan of the series, this new collection of both the original run and revival is a must have. If you’ve never seen the show, I highly recommend it.
Last we have Melrose Place: The Complete Series. This 1990s primetime TV drama was a must watch for my generation. An edgier and more adult sort of spin off of Beverly Hills 90210, it had the high drama of 80s shows like Dynasty in a hipper environment for GenX. The original first season cast is much different than what we remember with later seasons including Heather Locklear who was only a guest star at first, Marcia Cross, Jack Wagner and Alyssa Milano later on. This set includes all 226 episodes from seven seasons on 54 discs plus a ton of special features! To me it’s one of those series that had social media been around at the time it would have trended weekly. The Marcia Cross reveal would have broken the internet back then. It was water cooler conversation for sure which was our social media in the 90s. It made big stars out of people and helped keep other careers alive. Was it actually great TV? No it was cheesy and dramatic, but it was still must watch. Shows like Desperate Housewives certainly owe their existence to it. It was high drama with professional adults sleeping around and causing chaos with each other. It was Darren Star and Aaron Spelling at their 90s best. A must own for fans.