Night Visions in its fourth outing offers two predictable stories of limited
Yves Simoneau, a Night Vision producer and the director of the first aired
NV episode, returns for this one. And while the direction is quite good, the
script is an idiotic rehash of teen slasher movie cliches.
Any pleasure of anticipation that might be had from looking forwards to
seeing Jerry O’Connell and possibly his idiot brother being dismeboweled by
flesh eating zombies, quickly disappears after the first minute when anyone
with half a tick in their brains allready knows what will happen in this
episode and exactly how it will end.
Some obnoxious rich kids are driving around in an SUV when they pick up an
unsavory hitchiker. Jerry O’Connell has grown some symbolic fuzz on his chin
to symbolize a beard, which clearly is meant to indicate how evil his
charachter is. Further attempts by O’Connell to convey that his charachter
is evil, has him looking at people with a fixed, steady expression and
carefully encunciating his words.
At a rest stop the kids run into some dirty hippies who are basically a low
ambition Manson family. In another sermon on the virtue of the second
ammendment, the kids split up, find out that the phone line has been cut up,
get dragged away one by one and do all the stupid things that people in
slasher movies do. The results are deeply predictable. The episode titled
‘Rest Stop’ tries to cover up the absolute stupidity of its plot with some
sort of babble about class differences, but the holes are just too gaping
Basically this episode is a cut rate and low budget slasher movie, at a time
when the slasher movie has once again gone out of fashion. In other words
it’s unoriginal, pointless and lame.
The next episode does its best to fulfill the promise of an All-Star Cast by
featuring Randy Quaid. Admittedly he’s a step up from Jerry O’Connell in the
star category, but still not much. The woman who should have been Captain
Janeway, instead of the tobbacco voice harridan who got picked for the part,
Susan Gibney has a part so minor as to be virtually irrelevant. All it does
it make you think what Voyager might have been like with an actual actress
and a likeable presence in the role.
And though this episode resumes NV’s parade of “Back from the dead to get
you” that clogged all of last week, after being interrupted by ‘Rest Stop”,
it’s still somewhat better done than most of them.
In part it’s because Randy Quaid actually turns in a decent performance,
though he isn’t allowed the screen time, dialouge or material to actually
make the charachter and his actions plausible. The episode also avoids the
unecesarry gore, pointless brutality and sadism that have become NV
hallmarks, preffering a quieter family centered story. The ironic ending is
nicely underplayed and a bit unexpected as an ironic touch.
The result isn’t quite imaginative, since most of the major events in this
episode could have also been predicted from the first minute. As expected
the guy back from the dead will go psycho and try to drag the person he
loves back with him. The charachter and his actions don’t really seem
plausible because he has a tiny amount of dialouge and the episode begins
with the grave scene for shock value, rather than with a heart attack scene
which might have the family and the charachter more grounded and plausible.
Still his willing suicide and his daughter’s survival is a quiet triumph
over the pointless brutality of NV against often decent and completely
innocent people. It skews this episode closer to the more thoughtfull
Twilight Zone model and might be a road the show should seriously consider
going down, rather than pulling off tedious rehashes of teen slasher movies.