Director: Brian Helgeland
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Cast: Francesca Annis, Christopher Cazenove, Elizabeth Spriggs, Patrick Barlow, and John Kassir
Composer: Chris Boardman
Air Date: 5/3/1996
One evening, Larry Bannister (Christopher Cazenove) breaks into the house of his wife Sharon (Francesca Annis)—a murder mystery novelist—and attempts to kill her. Complications arise when Joey Trask (Patrick Barlow), son of nosy neighbor Mrs. Trask (Elizabeth Spriggs), claims to be having a romantic correspondence with Sharon—much to her surprise.
For its campy dialogue and utter lack of realism, “A Slight Case of Murder” may fail to captivate those with a sophisticated sense of humor and entertainment. The fittingly cold, sinister performances of Francesca Annis and Christopher Cazenove should, however, be commended.
By using a telephone to play cat-and-mouse games with each other, Larry and Sharon Bannister—an estranged husband and wife respectively—enhance the overall tension of this episode. (Horror fans may, in fact, note many similarities between the antics of both main characters and those of Ghostface, a masked killer who, in Wes Craven’s Scream, makes a series of threatening calls before attacking his victims.)
This offering is marred by frequent tonal inconsistencies, often transitioning between a straightforward, atmospheric murder mystery and a British black comedy. Especially distracting are the hijinks of Mrs. Trask and her son Joey, the exaggerated (if not thoroughly cartoonish) personalities of whom seem highly out-of-place in a serious horror narrative.
“A Slight Case of Murder” also deserves criticism for its implausible twist ending, which borders on the absurd—even by the zany, over-the-top standards of Tales from the Crypt.
This episode offers a goofy, poorly executed twist on the murder mystery genre. Tales from the Crypt viewers may nevertheless enjoy “A Slight Case of Murder,” which benefits from an occasionally suspenseful tone.
Overall Quality: 3/10
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