Having truly enjoyed several episodes from the first season of Mick Garris' horror anthology Masters of Horror, I was eagerly awaiting the followup. The first episode aired in October 2006, an adaptation of Ambrose Bierce's short story The Damned Thing, directed by none other than Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Lifeforce, and the Masters of Horror first season episode "Dance of the Dead").
***SPOILERS IF YOU CARE***
Sherriff Kevin Reddle comes from a cursed family. His folks survived a horrible mass murder in a neighboring town, but when they fled to nearby Cloverdale, the madness followed. The Damned Thing is an insanity inducing, vengeful force which drives people to murder and/or suicide. Reddle's daddy shot his mom and tried to kill Kevin, but the Damned Thing slew his father right before his eyes...saving young Kevin. It's now over two decades later, and the Damned Thing has returned...get ready for some redundancy!
Sean Patrick Flannery plays the brooding, trouble Sherriff Reddle, but unfortunately the character felt like a dull cliche. Random suicides, gore spews in a few scenes, townsfolk kill each other. But since this is a short film for TV, with almost no character development, you don't really care. The story is predictable and frankly, for Tobe Hooper, the characters are simply not entertaining. The town priest (Ted Raimi) and local newspaper reporter seem to know more than they let on, but neither turns out to be a very interesting character and they are dispatched in due haste. The special effects are meh and since the creature itself is unseen most of the time, so it's difficult to feel any real terror. The invisible assailant was already perfected with Forbidden Planet, and if not that, then Predator. Here it just blows. There are no rules. It just runs about eviscerating random people, and if not they start to go insane and kill one another anyway.
Sadly, season 2 of Masters of Horror was off to a pretty ineffectual start.
Verdict: Indifference [5/10]