"Fear Itself" Spooked (TV Episode 2008) Poster

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"SPOOKED" By The Prospect, Pleased With The Results...
cchase17 June 2008
Frankly, when I heard that the folks behind Showtime's MASTERS OF HORROR were doing an summer-long anthology series for NBC, I was anything but interested. With the spotty record of MASTERS, the saving grace of the sub-par episodes on that show were the buckets and buckets of gore and grue they could get away with - something they can only go so far with even in the 10 P.M. slot on network television.

Due to a storm in our area, a bad signal prevented me from seeing the previous episode, but I sure hope it was as good as "SPOOKED" turned out to be. Co-written by creator Mick Garris with Matt Venne, (who adapted the jaw-dropping PELTS from F. Paul Wilson's short story), and directed by Brad Anderson (SESSION 9 and the MASTERS episode "Sounds Like"), this was a perfect showcase for all the talent involved, but most especially for the underrated Eric Roberts. It's a terrific performance that makes you wonder why he isn't working a lot more.

All the themes that Anderson loves to work with are here: alienation, family dysfunction and tragedy, a deep exploration of the dark side of the human soul. The plot will not be unfamiliar to most avid horror fans, but the execution is amazing to say the least.

Roberts plays Harry, a disgraced cop whose heavy hand with his suspects leads to the death of a creepy kidnapper (Jack Noseworthy.) Years later, Harry, now a sleazy P.I. specializing in divorce cases (and occasionally shaking down his clients for more money), takes a case from a desperate woman (Cynthia Watros) out to prove her husband's infidelity. But rather than have him followed, she pleads with Harry to stake him out at their home, using the abandoned house across the street as his lookout post.

Well, one look at the house across the street tells you that Really Bad Things are going to happen, which they do. But it's HOW those things happen and what they reveal about Harry and everyone involved that makes this story different.

Larry Gilliard Jr. and Watros are also great as Harry's assistant and his new client, respectively. But much in the same way that director Anderson was able to get outstanding performances from Peter Mullen in SESSION 9 and Chris Bauer in SOUNDS LIKE, he puts it on the line for Roberts, who does not let him down. Harry is not so much a "good guy gone bad" as someone who is irreparably damaged, and the fact that he makes us empathize with him although he's dead-wrong about the methods he uses to "make things right", lends a human touch in a tale where deeds are being perpetrated by forces that are anything but.

"SPOOKED" has definitely convinced me to stick with this series for now.
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A haunting and spooky tale that proves your past can bring out demons to take you down.
blanbrn14 June 2008
Just watched my first episode of the NBC series "Fear Itself" and it was certainly entertaining and held my interest. Titled "Spooked" starring TV and B movie veteran Eric Roberts as a cop who bends the book as he takes his job a little to far by getting aggressive with criminal suspects. So upon his suspension from the force he becomes a gumshoe type P.I. and also he's very down on his luck as he turns to the bottle to handle his doubt. Then after many years he gets a call to investigate an alleged affair for a woman(Cynthia Watros)who thinks her husband is playing to much. Yet the job duties require the watch to be from an old abandoned house that's supposedly haunted. So one by one images of ghosts, demons, and most revealing flashbacks from the P.I.'s past are shown and these images involve the bringing out of guilt and remorse in which leads to a shocking twist in the end. Overall well done horror episode for TV.
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Haunted by Guilty
claudio_carvalho18 February 2015
Harry Siegel (Eric Roberts) is a tough police officer that resolves his case using torture and violence. When the son of a senator is abducted, he finds the boy after accidentally killing the criminal Rory Bemell (Jack Noseworthy) and is fired from the police force.

Years later, Harry is a private detective working basically in divorce cases with his assistant James (Larry Gilliard Jr.). One day, Harry is hired by Meredith Kane (Cynthia Watros) that believes that is cheated on by her husband. She asks Harry to stakeout her house from a derelict house in front of hers instead of using his van. Soon Harry is haunted by his guilty and unravels the mystery with tragic consequence.

"Spooked" is a reasonable tale of haunted house and guilty. Harry Siegel is spooked by his past and recalls the reason of his violent behavior. However something is missing to be a better episode. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Spooked"
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Very Scary
Cinema_Love9 October 2009
This episode of Fear Itself, is excellent for one reason, Eric Roberts, the guy usually play lame roles, but in this, he does play a tired and recently fired cop ! The real story is 15 years later.

Eric is a detective and investigate unfaithful couples, when he investigate one, he sees strange visions and voice in the house, and it's malefic because the other guy who work with him, don't see all of this !

In fact, it's really a fast story and it's indeed scary because of all theses voices that come out of nowhere to put the past in front of this old cop ! A great cast overall and a good direction !

A must-see TV ! Eric Roberts may not be the greatest actor on earth, but he delivers here.
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Same moral theme at the end?
Mynx733 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is the best episode of the series thus far. I went into this disliking Eric Roberts, but thrilled at the prospect of the director of The Machinist doing an episode. I liked the opening scene and couldn't wait for the story to get rolling, but then there was a lot of set up dialog (I understand why it was used), but it really slowed the pace and suspense. The house setting was truly creepy and some of the scenes in the house were disturbing at the most basic level. When the twist is slowly being introduced, I thought it was going to be something totally original; however, the ending was a little too close to that of The Machinist. All in all, it is a good episode, but don't expect a big pay off at the end.
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Your past can haunt you
ca_perez200013 June 2008
I saw the show for last night for the first time. Quite good. It is nice to see a show that somehow takes you back to that era of television when you enjoy a movie/show (horror or otherwise) for the content and not a lot of gore. I remember during the 60's and early 70's watching movies from the 40's & the 50's that had suspense & good acting. Of course, as most people my age, I also started enjoying movies with lots of gore and blood. But now nearing 50, I think more fondly of this old movies/shows. Even if the movie/show had blood in it, since the majority were black and white films (to me every show was in black and white since we did not owe a color TV set) the most important things were the characters and the story.
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Great Performances by Watros & Roberts!
Sylviastel13 June 2008
Eric Roberts (yes, Julia's brother) stars in this episode of Fear Itself with Emmy winner Cynthia Watros. They both give excellent performances as people haunted by their past and their connections to each other. Without spoiling the plot, Roberts plays Harry, a private investigator who is hired by Watros character Mary to investigate the house which appears empty at first. This hour is about the supernatural and how a house can possess a life of it's own. I won't spoil the plot but I did enjoy it in part because of Roberts and Watros characters. Roberts' Harry is quite a well-developed character with a haunted past and skeletons in the closet. Watros' Mary is equally the same.
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good storyline, weak ending
trashgang17 May 2010
As said before, the new series will not be that strong as Masters of Horror. It isn't really bloody or let's say, gory. It's more something to be told in a episode of The Outer Limits or Twilight Zone. But here we are, it's on the DVD so we have to watch it. This time it's been directed by one who had some experience in the genre. And it works. It is a slow builder, with some plot changes but if you are smart you can guess what's coming. Eric Roberts gives a good performance but was I surprised how old he was. Anyway, it isn't really a horror story it's more a supernatural storyline. Due his slowness it gives you a feeling that you are watching a movie which is okay. My only complain is that the ending isn't really a surprise and somehow, the end comes too quick. It's a conversation between victim and euh, victim but suddenly, bang, a gunshot, end credits... a bit too easy for an sudden end.
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Just plain awful
rvm-2167315 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This whole episode was just weak compared to the first one. You can tell by the ending that the writer had no clue how to end it so they just said, "Hey, lets kill Harry and leave Merideth vindicated." I get it, it's a horror story so it shouldn't leave us with a happy ending, but that ending was so unsatisfactory that it ruined the whole thing. Not that it was that great to begin with.

First of all, it's shown that Harry is good at his job, yet he didn't even bother to canvas the place and see if there was any furniture in the house? Especially after the first night that nobody came in or out of the house.

Secondly, it was completely predictable. I knew the house he was watching was empty even before the last ten minutes of the episode. I knew Merideth was the sister of the guy Harry killed. The worst part, though, is that even though it was predictable the ride wasn't even satisfying. I've watched lots of stuff where I knew what was going to happen, but the ride there was so good I didn't mind it. However, Spooked left me uninspired, uninterested, and I felt like I wasted almost an hour on something that I could have used on anything else.
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What goes around comes around
Woodyanders18 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Sleazy and unscrupulous ex-cop turned private eye Harry Siegal (an excellent and convincing performance by Eric Roberts) gets hired by the mysterious Meredith Kane (a fine portrayal by the fetching Cynthia Watros) to dig up dirt on her unfaithful husband. Siegal is forced to confront the demons of his past while on a stakeout in a haunted house. Director Brad Anderson, working from a grim and compact script by Matt Venne, does an ace job of crafting and maintaining a supremely eerie and unsettling atmosphere, delivers several truly disturbing images, makes expertly unnerving use of the spooky rundown abode location, and ably builds the nerve-wracking tension to a harrowing fever pitch at the climax. The sturdy acting from a tip-top cast holds everything together: Roberts registers strongly as the main shady character, Lawrence Gilliard Jr. lends engaging support as Harry's hip laid-back partner James, and Jack Noseworthy projects a strong sense of real menace as the sinister Rory Bemell. The flashbacks to Harry's tragic past have a wrenching poignancy. Moreover, there's a potent and provocative central message about how you reap what you sow. Attila Szalay's glossy cinematography makes neat use of shadowy lighting. Anton Sanko's moody score further enhances the overall discomfiting ooga booga tone. Very solid episode.
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Not the best follow up
lovecraft23113 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A detective (Eric Roberts) with a rather shady and violent past now searches out cases of infidelity for others. When he takes a case for a mysterious girl (Cynthia Watros), he and his partner (Larry Gilliard Jr.) take the case. Too bad for him that the house is haunted-and the ghost of a past victim of his violence (Jack Noseworthy) wants payback.

At first, "Spooked" seems like it's going to be a nice ride-it has a neat concept, good acting, and a few nice moments. Sadly, they are few and far between, as this ends up being not exactly the best follow up episode.

The "traumatic childhood event" subplot is poorly written, and Noseworthy isn't a very threatening villain. Also, the ending is a cop-out, and leaves much to be desired.

A shame really, as I love Brad ("Session 9", "The Machinist") Anderson's work. His "Masters of Horror" episode "Sounds Like" is one of the best of that series. Here though, it's a swing and a miss.
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Michael_Elliott9 July 2008
Fear Itself: Spooked (2008)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Director Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Masters of Horror: Sounds Like) takes hold of this second episode but delivers a pretty bad film on all levels. The film tells the story of a cop (Eric Roberts) who will kill and torture anyone to get evidence he needs to solve a crime but this eventually costs him his job. Fifteen years later he is working as a private detective and he gets a new case where a woman hires him to spy on her husband who she feels is cheating. Roberts does a stakeout in the house across the street but soon haunted visions appear. I've only seen one of Anderson's previous films (the Masters of Horror segment) but so far I really haven't been impressed but I'm not sure I can blame him too much here since the screenplay to this thing is just downright horrid every step of the way. For starters, we've seen this type of film so many times and the screenplay makes sure to go for every cliché known in the horror community. The film is never scary and it doesn't contain a single inch of atmosphere. I was bored from the opening scene to the closing one and the only moment that does work is a flashback sequence where we see why Roberts' is the way he is. Roberts gives a fairly good performance here but the screenplay doesn't give him too much to work with.
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Not Even Close, But Shows Some Effort
ricardovs2715 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
After a lousy start with "The Sacrifice", this anthology series gets a little better with this episode.

The real problem here is that the rest of the episode never lives up to the high octane beginning, with an intense performance from Noseworthy and Roberts. After that, is all downhill.

The excellent directing job by Anderson (from "The Machinist" fame) almost saves the day, with a nice sense of dread throughout and nice details to enhance the experience (the spooky drawings inside the old house are cool and frightening, for instance).

But only a good director can't save a bad script. And this one is really bad. And Roberts forgot how to act, seriously. His leading man is noisy, over-the-top and bland.

I fear for the remainder of this series...
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Weakest Episode of the First Three
gavin694223 June 2008
Police officer Harry Siegal is booted off the force, but not arrested, after beating a kidnapper to death. He goes into private practice as a gumshoe, which works well. When he takes on an infidelity case, though, the man he killed might get his revenge from his dying wish -- that Harry would never forget the horrible things he's done.

"Spooked" has some advantages over the first episode of "Fear Itself" ("The Sacrifice"). It starts out violent and intense, which hooks the audience. The pacing is slower which adds some suspense, which the first episode lacked almost completely. But beyond that, it was largely a disappointment.

Certain plot points made no sense. The third episode ("Family Man") has unexplained supernatural elements, but they cover it up with a discussion about God's Will. "Spooked" lacks any explanation at all, giving us unexplained sights, sounds and more. There is a question of why the woman in the film is concerned about Harry's past, and the way this is played out was unsatisfying. All in all, this had very few horror elements and attempted to be a drama... poorly.

After "The Sacrifice" was average, and this episode was gripping at first yet bland over the long haul, I had little hope for "Fear Itself". Luckily, this was fixed in the third part (see separate review) because I want this series to be a success. But as far as "Spooked" goes, if you're not interested in catching the entire run of this series, this is one you can skip without losing much sleep.
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Another Loser for the Fear Itself Roster
Incredible_Brightness13 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
What did we learn from last week's poor episode? Nothing apparently, because this week's is even poorer in terms of what a horror movie should be.

Copying a page right out of the Saw series handbook, this episode is about a cop / detective who does not-so-nice things to get information out of suspects. Yawn. But unlike those movies, this guy is played by Eric Roberts. Eric, who was a lot less lovable in 1992's Final Analysis, has a heart of gold here. But it's just too late for him to change his ways because ghosts are mean and they're not so good at letting a grudge go.

Whatever, I could let this bad plot go. Also, I can forgive the fact that Eric is suited up with White Noise type techno-gear to hear ghosts even though it's clearly already been done before. Because this episode is certainly more stylish than The Sacrifice. And Eric Roberts is a great actor. But this is a multiple-person story. And he's the only one giving a good performance. He's surrounded by a cast of boring, tepid, and completely uninteresting co-stars.

As the episode follows through its' ghost story, we get some bad CGI (the reflective window thing is just plain wrong and completely predictable - as were the weird-breathing sound effects), a really poorly lit and photographed false scare, tensionless reveals without proper build-up, and a really lame flashback scene.

The ending looks like it might finally break the curse of tedium from this episode. But again, predictability sets in. And - was anyone actually surprised by how it ended? Everyone knew the guy's assistant was going to use that gun by the end of the episode. They only showed him straddling and caressing it in every shot he's in. "Ooh, baby. Ooh, baby." He was completely in love with it. So, does that make this ironic? No, it's just predictable.

If they want a writer who can write a twist, they should have gotten that guy who did Frailty and Masters of Horror: Family. He can't write a satisfying script. But if your characters are boring, he can at least make things unpredictable. The guy who ended up writing Spooked was Matt Venne, the one responsible for Masters of Horror's cruddy, Pelts, film / episode. Maybe not such a good choice to write this.

So, in conclusion, I'd only recommend this if you want to see a really short horror movie that is completely predictable. At least it's got a little style and Eric Roberts is amazing, as always. He also has aged very well over these years. The guy is still breathtaking.
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