Welcome back to my “Tales from the Darkside” Marathon! I’ll admit right now that this wasn’t my original choice for today’s episode. I wanted to cover “The Milkman Cometh”, but unfortunately couldn’t find a version of it online. Instead, today’s tale is about one mother’s quest to take back her son. This is “Family Reunion.”
Robert Perry and his son, Bobby, have been forced to hop from place to place. This is because Bobby has developed a little illness called lycanthropy and keeps breaking out of his room at night to kill. On top of that, Bobby’s mother, Janice, is convinced that Robert has kidnapped Bobby and tracks him down to get her son back. But Bobby is starting to like the change more and more, and Robert is determined to not let Janice have him for the sake of her safety. Will Robert be able to keep Bobby in check, or will Janice show him why you shouldn’t separate a mother from her child?
This is another episode directed by Tom Savini, and the make-up he did to show the werewolf was done very well. I also liked his use of showing the werewolf’s shadow initially when the change occurred. There were also lots of little nods to B-movies, including “Creepshow.” In fact, the whole episode felt similar to a B-movie, and the dialogue was pretty standard for the most part.
Where the episode faltered for me was in the acting. The characters were alright, but the performances were all over the place. Robert sounded like he was whispering half the time, though I felt he came off the best acting-wise outside of Trudy, the child services agent. Even though she was trying to be dramatic to get across why Bobby should be taken from Robert’s custody, Janice was a bit too borderline hammy for me at times. And Bobby was easily the worst actor out of all of them. I know child actors can be hit or miss, and the kid is clearly trying, but his line delivery needed more work.
If there’s any problem besides the acting, it’s that it felt easy to predict as it went along. This is especially true with the twist, which I could see coming not even halfway into the episode. The ending did have this sweet if a bit horrific feel to it, and it also is a bit ambiguous as well.
Overall, “Family Reunion” is a B-movie style episode and not a bad one at that. Even if you can predict what will happen, it tries to build up some decent suspense. The acting was subpar, but the real highlight here is the great werewolf make-up. While it’s not the most original werewolf story I’ve seen, it was pretty enjoyable.