Y'know, it's funny, but until recently I'd never seen Showtime's MASTERS OF HORROR series. Blame it on my lack of cable, or the skewed ratio of the number of movies to time-alloted, or that I'd heard too many mixed reactions to go out of my way to check it out. Regardless, I had decided that if and when I sampled Mick Garris's TV brainchild, I'd probably skip Joe Dante's first-season episode HOMECOMING, the somewhat controversial anti-war zombie tale. Ironic, then, that this is the first one that I see.
Now, the last thing I want to do is turn this blog into anything remotely political; your views are your views, and I'll respect them. And while I appreciate Dante's (and scriptwriter Sam Hamm's) frustration and anger, such a blatant presentation of a political viewpoint negates its satirical edge, no matter how biting.
Even on a basic storytelling level, the plot (in which a GOP spin doctor instigates the resurrection of soldiers killed in Iraq, who return to vote the current administration out of office) struggles to be interesting. Of course, when you prominently feature facsimiles of Larry King and Ann Coulter, it's going to be damned difficult to draw me in (though the always-great Robert Picardo does a great job standing in for Karl Rove), but the story's pace is just too slow, weighed down by principles when it should be propelled by its characters. There is a brief exploration of lead Jon Tenney's childhood and his first brush with tragedy, but it's so simplistic it verges on silly; I didn't find it believable at all.
Maybe it goes back to the old saw about discussing politics and religion, but watching HOMECOMING was like being trapped in an elevator with one of those talking heads from Faux News. Hey, Dante's entitled to express his opinion, but I would've preferred a coating of metaphor to help the message go down. (I'd also take a page from SOUTH PARK, who excel at this kind of thinly-veiled satire; being funny helps get your point across easier.)