Fear Itself: The Sacrifice (2008)
Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Jeffrey Pierce, Rachel Miner, Jesse Plemons, Mircea Monroe
Directed by Breck Eisner
I’m sure it’s not easy to try and figure out which episode of an anthology you should kick things off with for a show like this. On one hand you don’t want to debut with your strongest episode because it’s all downhill from there. And you certainly can’t start with the weakest; that’s just a guarantee to lose viewers. Believe it or not, I don’t think “The Sacrifice” was a bad way to kick things off at all.
Four criminals hoping for a clean getaway get a helluva lot more than they ever expected when their truck is damaged beyond repair on a back country road. One of their number is injured and losing a lot of blood, so they drag him to the nearest sign of life: an isolated fort in the middle of nowhere.
The place is quiet and seemingly empty, but pretty soon three beautiful girls make their presence known, acting suspicious and more than a little creepy from the get-go. Chelsea (Miner) tends to the injured man, secretly sewing his lips shut when his friends leave, while Virginia (Monroe) takes one of the others out to the barn, making him believe he’s going to be seduced. Of course he is, but only to the point where he can be trapped in a well.
Slowly the remaining criminals, a set of brothers no less, begin to realize something is very much not right here, a fear that’s only exacerbated when Point (Pierce) finds his friend with his lips sewn shut, a massive wooden stake driven through his heart. He then encounters some kind of very angry creature and realizes it’s definitely time to get the hell out.
Yeah, the stake is a dead giveaway as to what’s going on here, but I have to give points to writers Mick Garris and Del Howison for leaving enough questions unanswered to keep you wanting to find out what’s really going on. The three sisters bear more than a resemblance to some very famous brides, you see, but it’s really their Romanian heritage that brings it all full circle.
Of course there are some logic gaps; they imply they’ve been keeping the beast there for a very long time but never really explain why he doesn’t try and go anywhere else other than their regular sacrifices to him, but they can be forgiven because the episode is tightly written and directed so you won’t have a lot of time to question things till it’s over.
Of course the biggest concern when this show went from being Masters of Horror on Showtime to Fear Itself on NBC was how much blood and guts would be retained. If “The Sacrifice” is any indication, they’re not pulling too many punches. There’s a decapitation that would’ve been nice to see on screen, but then the overall atmosphere of the ep wasn’t one that lent itself to buckets of gore. Where there was blood, it wasn’t shied away from too much, though it wasn’t on the same level as, say, the Masters of Horror vampire entry “The V Word”, also written by Garris oddly enough.
All that being said, “The Sacrifice” was still a vampire tale, and man, am I ever sick of those. The creature wasn’t your usual brooding count, thank God; it was actually more akin to a monster than a traditional vamp, but still ... couldn’t they have made it something other than what we’ve seen a million times before?
I’m sure we’ve not seen the best the show has to offer this season with “The Sacrifice”; I just hope the rest have a little more originality to them to keep things interesting.
3 out of 5
Discuss "The Sacrifice" in the Dread Central forums!