Stalker: The Haunting review

The stalker victim of the week has just conveniently moved into a “haunted” house so maybe the stalker is a ghost!!!

This Stalker review contains spoilers.

“I hate Halloween.”

Okay, this is a big deal here, guys. Tonight’s is a doozy. Not just because it’s written by series creator and resident madman, Kevin Williamson, but it also has the team going through an allegedly haunted house, as well as searching for their stalker suspect through a costume party on Halloween. And oh, right, they just so happen to think that he’s dead. That’s right. The team is spending their time and resources this week on what they think is a ghost stalker. Maybe.

If there were any doubts that Williamson wouldn’t steep this episode in his trademark insanity, they can be rested when the question, “Candy striper or French maid?” is posed by two girls, Lori and Annie, costume shopping for Halloween in the cold open. “Fine. Slutty it is,” is the result of this discussion. What is Halloween if not a great big gender stereotype generalization, so of course Stalker and Kevin Williamson should be having a hyperbolic field day with this episode. It’s not long after this that not only do we have our hapless female, Lori, being terrorized in a French maid outfit of all things, but the stalker is dressed as an over-the-top clown just because this is television and creepy visuals are what we want. We might as well just push all of this as far as it can go. And this is all only a few minutes in.

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Right from the top it also looks like getting Kevin Williamson penning this episode not only means it’s extra ridiculous, but that we’re also going to get some plot progression too. We nearly immediately see Beth’s stalker, Perry, touching base with his source that we heard from last week. We’re told that Beth Davis’ real name is Michelle Webber, and that the rest of the intel his source has is “good” and exactly what he’s looking for. It’s got something to do with her being the lone survivor of a fire, from what we can piece together. We see Jack and Janice talking about their time together from the end of last episode, and we even see his ex-wife, Amanda, bring up her two week ultimatum to Jack, as she threatens to let out that big Capital-S Secret of his that will ruin him.

Hurray for continuity, even if it’s the forced kind!

Fairly early on we’re conveniently told that the house that Lori and Annie have just moved into is supposedly haunted and that people were murdered there. Because this is a Halloween episode and because this is Stalker, we’re given a lot of scenes of Lori walking suspiciously through the dark of her “haunted” house while poltergeist-like tricks are played on her/us/people that should know better.

The TAU squad are more than willing to buy into this haunted story rather than anything plausible and slowly, against all odds, it becomes the leading theory here. They fall upon a hoodoo, Latin American witchcraft curse relic that the team is easily able to identify and know far too much about (one of their grandmothers was a bruha, you know how it is), and after cross-referencing this with—I swear to God–things pick up some steam. Skulls are found. Sinks are full of blood. Typical Halloween fare. And in case you forget it’s that certain holiday at any point in the episode, there’s at least four separate moments of different characters popping out of corners in varied spooky masks (none of which who are ever the actual stalker), which is much more the aggressor this week than any real ghosts.

There’s a lot of circular discussion in this episode between women about what is “wrong” and what needs to be done as the jilted are reduced to excitedly talking about “instagraming the whole thing” when they think they can maybe put the bad men away.

Meanwhile, Jack gets to pout and say weird things like “I hate Halloween” while unprompted, and switching his work assignments so he can get to bond and spend time with team members he hasn’t had a chance to connect with, like Ben; forcing storytelling that could just be happening on its own course because that’s the sort of guy he is.  We also see him nearly beating up some twelve-year olds who try and steal candy from his son as he’s out spying on him, so it’s pretty par for the course with Jack this week.

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As the TAU try to determine who is victimizing Lori, the entitled, bipolar, stereotypical frat boy Bobby is seen as the initial suspect. Things don’t look good for him when we see video of him in the same clown suit from before. But because he’s the initial suspect he is of course neatly dismissed early on.

We then move onto the former tenant of the house that Lori and Annie are now living in, Lewis Abbott, who’s well aware of the haunted craziness that’s going on, but rather than being an appealing stalker, he seems more obsessed with having sex with the house. He wants to bloodlet Lori and Annie to save them from the domicile, which of course is something that the TAU isn’t rushing to let him go ahead with. Everything Lewis does is underscored in exaggeration, so it’s only fitting that he’s doing an extravagant demonic curse as he’s killed, apparently by a ghost.

By the way, it’s eventually deduced that the contractor of the house considers anyone who goes into it a threat to his wife in a convoluted piece of dot connecting which very much feels like an episode needing to wrap itself up in its last act. There’s a photo of him and his wife nearby when he dies, just in case there was any doubt of this conclusion, too. We find out that he had been living in the house all of these years, in a contrived way of saying that the house actually had been haunted…by him…a person…that’s alive, and that’s the end of that mystery.

As the team puts this one to bed and can breathe easy that there’s no ghosts loose in Los Angeles (at least this time), we’re left with the message, “You don’t love someone by scaring them.” And I think that kind of says it all. This one is eather four stars…or one and a half if you can’t get behind the craziness.

Happy Halloween.

“Stalk” count: (an astonishing) 0

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4 out of 5