Reviews & Ratings for
"Tales from the Crypt" Mute Witness to Murder (1990)

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A Classic Episode

Author: Julian Mal from United States
9 June 2008

I thought this was one of the best Tales From the Crypt episodes. It's subtle, but does that creepy/ funny/ sadistic/ wonderful/ getting at a true fear thing really well. Patricia Clarkson is great -- it's amazing how many actors had some of their first roles on CFTC (Brad Pitt -- anyone?). The production value, as ever, is really good. Tales From the Crypt does not get enough attention, to my mind, for being the first movie-quality show on HBO. I mean, Movie-quality in it's own proto-Tarantino kind of way. Proto-everything, really. The show was totally on the vanguard. Season 2 was when it was arguable best, and I thought Mute Witness to Murder was among the best of Season 2. The dialogue is just spot on, from the opening party through to the end. In conclusion, I could not disagree more with Paul Andrews, except on his synopsis, which has given me an excuse to not include a synopsis in this comment. The episode is best for its writing, but the director is also very subtle and well-done. Does anyone know if Nancy Doyne and Jim Simpson collaborated again?

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Mute Witness To Murder

Author: a_baron from United Kingdom
10 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is not an entirely new idea, the 1954 film "Rear Window" has a similar theme, while the 1946 film "Shock" has more or less the same storyline, nevertheless, it is a fair effort.

When a woman witnesses a murder from the balcony of her apartment, she is suddenly struck dumb. In a panic, her husband rushes to a neighbour whom he knows to be a doctor. Yes, you guessed it, it was the doc who committed the murder, so what does he do? He gives her a liquid cosh and transports her to the small private sanatorium where he is lord and master.

Fortunately - though not for him - he has a heart condition - but unfortunately before his foul deeds are undone, there will be another untimely death.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Prepare for the "Cryptsequences"

Author: callanvass from victoria b.c canada
18 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Suzy witnesses a murder next door by looking out the window. It is so traumatic that Suzy isn't able to speak at all. It turns out that the murderer is a doctor. When the doctor realizes that Suzy knows what happened, he decides to cover it up by putting her in a private sanitarium. This is one of the better episodes from season two. I love this show, but season two has had some disappointing episodes. This episode goes back to basics and uses the formula of what made this show so effective. It's twisted, creepy, with just the right amount of black humor. Making the lead "mute" is a perfect sympathy plot that works out splendidly. My only complaint is that it does get a bit old after a while. I also didn't get how it took so long for the boyfriend to figure out what was going on. It's pretty easy to detect that the doctor has a few screws loose. Clarkson is great in the lead. She was excellent as the mute. It was a brave performance. Richard Thomas is fun as the Doctor. His OTT showcase was fun to watch. Reed Bierney's naivety grated my nerves. Anybody that loves comeuppance will love the ending. I thought the ending was very well done. This is one of the better episodes of season two. It's entertaining and watchable throughout.

Check out The Crypt Keeper trying to wiggle out of a straight- jacket! Funny stuff


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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"I could attempt to explain myself... But if you don't mind, I think I'll just skip the self-justification".

Author: Foreverisacastironmess from ukwitchcountry
24 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's no horror quite like that of the innocent trapped in a nightmare asylum horror, it's a totally unique kind of terror. I find that the natural grim atmosphere of such places with the white walls and tightly controlled clinical environment, is very disturbing to me. There is a twist: Suzi is declared insane throughout when she really isn't, and by the end she may very well be. Not much of a twist, but it is one. And there are definitely scares, how about the grisly moment when hapless nice husband Paul is stuck with the biggest nastiest looking needle you've ever seen and coldly murdered? It's one of the most chillingly sickening moments of the whole series. I don't think a true Tales fan would ever truly dislike this episode. Surely by anyone's standards it's one of the very best examples, especially of season 2. There's just one part I don't like, it's when Reed Birney's character is standing at a rainy window musing to himself. Everything kinda goes off for a second there.. I thought Richard Thomas was terrific as the perfectly villainous Dr Trask. He did a great job of making himself appear all buttoned-down and restrained, yet sinister and devilish, with the slicked-back hair and cold eyes. I liked how you could see his calm persona fraying at the edges as the character became more unhinged and worked up. In everything else I've ever seen him in, Richard Thomas has always played likable and funny guys - who knew he could so brilliantly play such a heartless fiend! It suited him. One thing I didn't like though was the wall of monitors in his office. I thought that was a bit over the top and verged on super-villainy. I also loved the performance of Rose Weaver as his heavy/matron. I thought she conveyed a lot of silent heavy-eyed menace in her small part. You may never look at a carrot the same again! I thought Patricia Clarkeson was particularly great as for most of her role she's silent, but you could always tell exactly what was running through her mind. My favourite scene is one of the strangely stylish moments shown from the camera monitor's POV, in a black and white static haze. It's when she's wandering around her cell and then towards the camera. I just find it to be a powerfully poignant moment. She looks beautiful, but also quite unnerving and other-worldly. I also love the music, I think it adds immensely to this tale. To me this episode is a great one solely because of the acting of the two leads. I thought they had great chaotic chemistry together, because the roles are such opposites. He, having her so completely at his mercy in his twisted sanatorium web, and she mute and confined, condemned to witness one horror after another. She was like his prize, his helpless, idealised captive angel, a woman who will listen to whatever he has to say without any of the "endless yammering". By the end the tables are of course turned in classic fashion, and it is she who stands merciless over him, who is now the weak and pitiful one, handing down his judgement. I like the mystery of her fate. I think that's exactly how it should be. A lot of these tales are too wrapped by the end. That's fine, but the ending to Mute witness to Murder has a nice surreal edge to it that sets it apart from all the others. The Dr is out..of his mind!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An excellent atypical episode

Author: Woodyanders ( from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
28 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Young woman Suzy (an outstanding performance by the lovely Patricia Clarkson) looks out of the window of her apartment and witnesses a man murdering a woman in the apartment directly across from hers. Suzy is so traumatized by what she sees that she's rendered mute. She's placed in the care of Dr. Trask (splendidly played with quietly unnerving menace by Richard Thomas), who alas turns out to be the man who committed the murder Suzy witnessed. Director Jim Simpson and writer Nancy Doyne take a radical and refreshing departure from the program's usual format: There's very little in the way of graphic gore, no goofy humor to speak of, with an extremely serious tone, a plausible story, and a strong emphasis on subtle tension over obvious cheap scares. The two leads do sterling work in their roles: Clarkson expresses a lot of emotion without uttering a single word for the bulk of her screen time and the inspired casting of the charmingly boyish Thomas in a rare change of pace villain part rates as a true stroke of genius. Reed Birney contributes a fine and likable turn as Suzy's concerned husband Paul. The supremely ironic ending packs one hell of a wallop. Robert Draper's handsome cinematography and Jan Hammer's spare elegant score further enhance the overall exceptional quality of this classy, worthy, and underrated episode.

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8 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Poor tale from the crypt.

Author: Paul Andrews ( from UK
8 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tales from the Crypt: Mute Witness to Murder starts as happily married couple Susan (Patricia Clarkson) & Paul (Reed Birney) are celebrating their wedding anniversary, however while on the balcony of their apartment Susan witnesses Dr. Trask (Richard Thomas) in the apartment opposite murder his wife (Diane Peterson) which leaves her in such a state as she can't speak. Paul finds her like this & immediately thinks he should get a doctor, unfortunately he ask's Dr. Trask to come round & help...

This Tales from the Crypt story was episode 15 from season 2, directed by Jim Simpson this has to be the poorest episode from the generally excellent season 2. The script by Nancy Doyne was based on a story from 'The Crypt of Horror' comic book & feels more like a throughly predictable & routine thriller rather than a darkly comic tale of horror. For a start I can't remember another Tales from the Crypt episode that had such a lame forgettable ending which I would struggle to call a twist & was frankly so slow & boring as Mute Witness to Murder apart from maybe King of the Road from season 4 but that's debatable I suppose. What isn't debatable though is the fact that I didn't like this at all & as far as I'm concerned is one of the few real disappointments during season 2, even at only 25 odd minutes long this is probably one to give a miss.

As usual it's well made with decent production values but it's still not very good to watch, there's no scares, there's no twist's & not one single drop of blood. The acting was OK but I thought Thomas as the villain was far to flat & bland.

Mute Witness to Murder is poor & it's as simple & straight forward as that really, a low point in an otherwise fine Tales from the Crypt season.

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6 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

One of the best episodes of the Season

Author: Juan Sarmiento from Netherlands
10 July 2009

One of the best episodes of the Season, mainly because of the fantastic performance from Patricia Clarkson. Easily one of the best performances of the show.

This episode is about a woman called Suzy, witnessing her neighbor killing another woman and losing the ability to speak due shock. Her stupid husband calls in the nearest doctor - which happens to be their neighbor.

To hide his secret, he declares her insane and has her locked in an insane asylum where she is pretty much helpless and unable to defend herself. Her husband eventually caught on but then it is too late and he is murdered in front of her.

Finally, when the doctor is ready to put her out of her misery his pills give in and he dies of a heart attack in front of her.

The episode is excellent, very tensed and reminds me of the very first episode of the show in terms in cinematography and acting.

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