Sunday, July 15, 2012

The X-Files: Scary Monsters (9.14)

Sometimes writers get a little lazy when writing about supernatural occurrences, and Scary Monsters falls into that trap. The episode centers on a young boy with the ability to bring his scary artwork to life, and while that idea naturally gives way to freaky-deaky imagery, Thomas Schnauz's script ends up just throwing a bunch of scary shit at the cast. So we get latex-belly ookiness, blood streaming from eyes, hands going through stomachs and explosions of bugs. Blah. It actually reminded me a lot of that old, old episode The Calusari, with random acts of spookiness occurring with little internal depth.

Don't get me wrong, Scary Monsters is a fine horror episode. But it's so ridiculously generic that you can't help but get a little bored by it all. Or maybe I've just seen one too many 'evil kid' stories in my time. Schnauz adds a couple of distinctive touches here and there (notably the fake-out ending, Tommy's moral ambiguity and the cool TV set closer), but generally this is tried-and-tested X-Files stock.

Strangely, the episode only perked up whenever Scully appeared to deliver some uncharacteristic comedy. I say uncharacteristic because the source of the funny is a little contrived. But dammit I liked her having crime-scene photographs shoved in front of her just as she was taking a bite out of her sandwich, as well as the makeshift kitchen autopsy and her ridiculous apron. It was small moments like those that added a little sparkle to what's mostly an underwhelming hour. A lot of the ingredients are fine (I continue to enjoy Agent Harrison, despite her fanfic-ish pedigree), but the result is spotty. C

Guest stars Jolie Jenkins (Leyla Harrison); Brian Poth (Gabe Rotter); Scott Paulin (Jeffrey Conlon); Gavin Fink (Tommy Conlon); Steve Ryan (Sheriff Jack Coogan)
Writer Thomas Schnauz Director Dwight Little

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