RIGHT TO DIE: Masters Of Horror. (Rob Schmidt)



So, we’re onto Season Two of the Masters Of Horror series, which means we’ve got some new blood in the mix. For this particular episode titled RIGHT TO DIE, Wrong Turn director Rob Schmidt joins the MOH family.

Now, I really, really liked Wrong Turn. Seriously. At the time it came out it was just the kind of horror movie I was in the mood to see. So, naturally, I was excited to see what Rob’s return to the horror genre would be like, especially under the Masters Of Horror umbrella. Well, there’s plenty of good ideas lurking thru-out the 58 minutes of RIGHT TO DIE, but sadly it just fails on so many levels. And after watching all the bonus making-of featurettes, I can’t quite figure out why. Let’s examine…

The plot is actually really unique and kind of interesting. RIGHT TO DIE is a ghost story, but it’s not the traditional kind. In it, Cliff Addison and his wife Abby are involved in a terrible car accident, which leaves Abby severely burned, and on life support. (It evokes memories of Gary Sherman’s car crash victim from DEAD & BURIED.) The details of her marriage to Cliff, the accident, and what everyone involved has to gain from her death is not all it seems. So, whenever she flatlines, her spirit is free to roam and seek out vengeance to those responsible to profit off of her situation. Kinda neat, right? A ghost story where the ghost isn’t quite dead yet. Let’s delve into the problems with the movie, and trust me, it’s all plot related. (Because quite frankly, the direction, the acting, the FX are all top notch.)

First off, we’re never quite sure who we’re supposed to feel sympathy for. There is no “good” character in this film. Sure, not every single film NEEDS that, but there’s a reason this comes into play later. We find out early on that Cliff had an affair with his dental assistant (played by Robin Sydney and for the love of Crom, when you see her, you’ll understand why), so his marriage and relationship to Abby isn’t all that rosy. What bothers me is the way Abby discovers this. She watches what looks like a professionally shot Skin-a-max video of Cliff and Trish doing the deed on his cell phone. His cell phone! I’ll buy pictures, cute text messages, but a full on video? Ok, maybe I’m behind on the times, but I know my phone ain’t capable of recording movie quality shorts yet. (What do I know though? Maybe a dentist can afford such a phone?)

Secondly, there’s a HUGE cheat in the flick. Toward the end of the episode, we see the opening events played out again, but they’re completely different. I absolutely hate when a show/movie/whatever shows you one thing, takes it back, and shows you something different in order to make the ending make sense. You know who backs me up on this? Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s MISERY. ("HE DIDN’T GET OUT OF THE COCK-A-DOODIE CAR!!!")

Putting those few (of many) plot holes aside, is the episode worth watching? Surely! (Ladies forgive me…) The character of Cliff (played by Martin Donovan) is one lucky SOB. There’s a scene where he makes out with his beautiful wife Abby in the hot tub. Not for nothing, but Abby (Julia Anderson) has the greatest boobs on the planet. Sure she turns into a horribly scarred creature before the naughty deed is complete, but as far as I’m concerned… it wouldn’t have bothered me. Then wait until you get a load of Trish, Cliff’s mistress. This episode delivers on 2 pairs of perfect boobs. The FX are also among the best of the series, so kudos to KNB on this one. There’s one scene in particular that involves one of the characters being skinned alive which literally made me cringe. (Speaking of… Cliff skins someone to try to donate the skin to his ailing wife before they pull the plug, and does he expect to just show up at the hospital with skin in a cooler and have the hospital staff be OK with it?!) Don’t get me started on the ending which makes no sense. Overall, I’d say rent this one if you’re curious based on the descriptions I’ve given above.

Special Features: The features on all the Season Two discs are different from Season One, but they’re still pretty well put together. There’s a making-of featurette which shows all the parties involved being very excited to work on this episode. Again, I don’t understand how they would let certain implausible plot points go, but perhaps they didn’t care. I get the feeling that this show was put together so fast, that perhaps they did’t focus as much as they should on having a truly solid script. Anyways, there’s also a great FX featurette called “Flay-O-Trish” which shows how all the gags were pulled off. That’s definitely worth watching. Rob Schmidt offers a commentary, but I haven’t listened to it yet. (In all honesty) Perhaps some of my burning questions will be answered? Only time will tell! –Robg.

Buy it on Amazon.com!