Directed by John Landis (2006)
Reviewed by MaT, added on Nov 6 2006
"Deer Woman" was one of my favorite episodes from the first season of Showtime's Masters of Horror. John Landis as a "Master" of anything is debatable, but if there is one aspect of horror he seems to have a target on, it is incorporating horror and comedy. "Deer Woman" was one of the few intentional comedies that made me laugh out loud and the premise was so ridiculous (hot naked Indian woman from the waist up, total deer hotness from the waist down) that you couldn't help but have fun with it. So I was eagerly anticipating Landis' follow up, an episode called "Family".
The story takes place in the most horrifying place on earth: The suburbs. George "Don't call me Norm" Wendt stars as Harold, a suburban bachelor who has a small problem with kidnapping people, melting them down to their bones, and then using said bones to be his "family". Landis uses a lot of cool camera trickery as Harold converses with "real" people in his head, while we as the audience see skeletons dressed as his "family". Things get complicated when a new couple move in across the street. They have moved to the suburbs to get a new start on life after their daughter died of cancer. Harold soon takes a liking to the woman and badly wants to make her a part of his perfect "family". Ah, but there is a twist...
This episode was okay, I guess. Landis is a competent director, more than most people give him credit for, and the cast deliver good performances. The biggest problem with "Family" is that it is too plodding. This is an hour long film that would have been perfect as a 22 minute Tales From the Crypt episode. In fact, the ending is such an obvious homage to the old EC tales that I half expected the Crypt Keeper to pop up and throw some corny dialogue at me.
After Hooper's surprising effort, Landis was a bit of a let down. There are a couple cool gore shots (as Harold liquifies his victims with acid), but overall, there is just too much padding. Probably the worst of all is that the film isn't funny. "Deer Woman" was completely outrageous, so laughing was expected, "Family" on the other hand, seems plausible (relatively speaking, of course) and therefore the tone doesn't lend itself to outright comedy. "Family" is simply okay. I wouldn't watch it again.