Director: Tobe Hooper
Writer: Gilbert Adler
Cast: Whoopi Goldberg, John Rhys-Davies, Vanity, James Remar, John Kassir, Orlando Bonner, Henry Brown, and Paul Anthony Weber
Composer: David Mansfield
Air Date: 7/3/1991
A thief named Red Buckley (James Remar) is hired by wealthy plantation owner Emil Duval (John Rhys-Davies), whose priceless black pearl and wife Katherine (Vanity) immediately capture Red’s interest. Hoping to steal the pearl before a local revolution prevents him from doing so, Red seduces and enlists the aid of Katherine; however, voodoo witch Peligre (Whoopi Goldberg) has another plan in mind.
Horror veteran Tobe Hooper should be commended for establishing an atmospheric setting, which will no doubt appeal to Tales from the Crypt fans. That being said, “Dead Wait” suffers from a mediocre and predictable narrative.
Dimly lit rooms and dark, wooded shooting locations work to enhance any creepy vibes that Peligre gives off during her cryptic interactions with Red. The unnerving nighttime sequences are made additionally terrifying thanks to a number of nauseating gore effects, one of which can arguably be considered the most gruesome in the entire series.
While the obligatory plot twists are too predictable to deliver a shocking impact without assistance from the aforementioned gore effects, even more disappointing are the middling performances provided by an otherwise exceptional cast. Specifically, Whoopi Goldberg and John Rhys-Davies failed to exude the level of energy and charisma that one would expect from two remarkably talented character actors. The lackadaisical efforts of Goldberg and Rhys-Davies are frequently overshadowed by James Remar’s portrayal of Buckley, though even Red makes for a relatively poor antagonist given the absence of complexity surrounding his motives.
Whereas many third season episodes deviate from the usual Tales from the Crypt clichés, “Dead Wait” returns to a more formulaic format in which a morally bankrupt character receives his comeuppance through grisly means. Though true to the original comic installment from which Gilbert Adler’s script was derived, the “twist” ending lacks a creative edge to compensate for its hackneyed execution (no pun intended).
“Dead Wait” showcases a variety of captivating horror devices to complement Hooper’s magnificent direction. Nevertheless, those who value rich character dynamics and compelling dialogue over stylish but underwhelming scares would be wise to pass on this offering.
Overall Quality: 6/10
If you enjoyed this post, please click the follow button or enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.