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Showtime 30-Minute Movies Under the Car

Compact horror tale, in which five friends are stranded one late night in their car in a deserted parking lot, offers good jumps and frights; the vigorous perfs and scary situations under writer Alan B. McElroy's taut direction grab attention. Though it's weak on explanation -- something defined simply as "evil" picks them off -- the Halloween offering is a good shaker.

Compact horror tale, in which five friends are stranded one late night in their car in a deserted parking lot, offers good jumps and frights; the vigorous perfs and scary situations under writer Alan B. McElroy’s taut direction grab attention. Though it’s weak on explanation — something defined simply as “evil” picks them off — the Halloween offering is a good shaker.

Bill (Robert Curtis-Brown), his wife Amanda (Lisa Kaminir) and three friends, having finished drinks in a cafe, walk down a bleak, deserted street to the parking lot. Irritatingly drunk Kyle (Clayton Rohner) climbs in Jim’s car, as do the others, but Jim (Jonathan Penner) steps out to investigate a noise and is absorbed by the electric force outside the vehicle.

McElroy, working on the characters’ terror, builds a claustrophobic atmosphere to tighten the brief film even more, and forces one character to confess to an indiscretion that may or may not have brought about the evil that vanishes with sunlight.

The effects and the characters’ reactions are everything, and McElroy uses tight closeups, razor-like editing and effective camerawork to throw in his scares.

They all work despite the enigmatic ending, and again proclaim what an art form the half-hour TV drama can be.

Production values are first rate.

Showtime 30-Minute Movies Under the Car

(Sun. (31), 10:40-11:10 p.m., Showtime)

  • Production: Filmed at Santa Clarita Studios by Fried Films and Chanticleer Films. Exec producers, Jana Sue Memel, Jonathan Sanger; supervisingproducer, Steve Hewitt; producers, TR Conroy, Rob Fried, Richard Zinman; co-producer, Tom Koranda; director-writer, Alan B. McElroy.
  • Crew: Camera, John J. Connor; editors, Rachel Igel, Debra Goldfield; production designer, Don Day; sound, Pattoma; music, Stacy Widelitz.
  • Cast: Cast: Frank Aragon, Robert Curtis-Brown, Antonio Hoyos, Walt Jordan, Lisa Kaminir, Jonathan Penner, Clayton Rohner, Annie Rush.
  • Music By: