Mystery thriller themed Tales from the Crypt episode.
Tales from the Crypt: A Slight Case of Murder starts late one cold English night as best selling crime murder mystery author Sharon Bannister (Francesca Annis) puts the finishing touches to her latest novel only to be interrupted by her annoying wannabe author & neighbour Mrs Trask (Elizabeth Spriggs). Once Trask leaves Sharon thinks she hears an intruder but it turns out to be her husband Larry (Christopher Cazenove), they are currently separated & undergoing a bitter divorce & Laryy has turned up in order to murder Sharon in a clever plot reminiscent of one of her novels but things don't go according to plan & it seems there are other motives by other people using the feuding couple for their own ends...
This Tales from the Crypt story was episode 3 from season 7, written & directed by Brian Helgeland who made his directorial debut here his liking for dark thrillers with twist's is clearly evident in A Slight Case of Murder as there's no real horror elements in it at all & ends up feeling like a mildly watchable murder mystery with one or two decent if very credibility stretching twist's. The script was based on a story from 'The Vault of Horror' comic book & is no more than a passing distraction really & it has a rather contrived & silly plot, I liked the fact that the horrible comedy & silliness from the two previous episodes has been neutered a little bit but why that ridiculous idiot who seems to do everything for comedy value was included I'll never know & as for the way he is dressed don't get me started. This overly camp tone is something which has creeped into season seven & I don't mind telling you I don't like it one little bit. The episodes end up feeling more like British farce than a cold, black, ironic, gory & clever tale of horror. Disappointing guy's, disappointing. To be honest I am not surprised that an eighth season wasn't commissioned after a disastrous start to the seventh. The plot somewhat saves A Slight Case of Murder in that it is quite clever on occasion & the twist is reasonably satisfying although why would that woman want to kill her own son? I also have to dock a star or two because of the horribly clichéd & cheesy 'twist' about half way through when we see Sharon isn't in fact dead at all, how many times in telly & cinema has a character who has seemed dead (sustained injury, stopped breathing, etc.) miraculously come back to life & for that matter how many times in telly & cinema has a potential murderer not finished the job properly even though they have had plenty, & I mean plenty of opportunity to do so? It did irk me a lot here I must say.
As usual the episode is well made & has good production values throughout. Lacking any sort of horror, scares or atmosphere the plot does keep one watching although this feels more like a detective drama. There's not much gore to speak of, a few gunshot wounds & a pair of garden shears thrown into someone's chest. The goriest moment comes at the end during the closing Cryptkeeper sequence in which he is dressed up as an astrologer like Merlin with a crystal ball & he reads someones palm although it turns out it's a severed hand which he holds up & laughs about. The cast is alright but living here in the UK I've seen Elizabeth Spriggs pop up from time to time on telly & she really annoys me so her presence in A Slight Case of Murder was not appreciated by at all.
A Slight Case of Murder is an improvement on Last Respects (1996) which wouldn't have been hard to be honest & I suppose it's alright but no horror, again some unnecessary comedic elements & a rather silly plot does mean I can't give it anymore than four stars I'm afraid.
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