Based on the 50s TV series of the same name, Twilight Zone is an anthology of 4 short stories with a fantasy / horror / supernatural twist to them.
After a simple but rather nice prelude with Dan Aykroid we are presented with a story of a racist bigot getting a taste of his own medicine. This first episode ’Time Out’, directed by John Landis, is technically and acting wise an applaudable effort, but never evolves beyond the simple idea and soon gets old and predictable. The following Spielberg’s ’Kick the Can’ tells a tale of the habitants of a retirement getting a chance to be children again, a story which continues in the same vein of quality, slow pacing and predictability.
In ’It’s a Good Life’, a segment directed by Joe Dante is where the movie really takes off as mystery of people trapped in a cartoony house is unrevealed layer by layer, and it’s the following ’Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’ that finally redeems the anthology as one of the best of the 80s. It’s a segment perfectly suited for the short story format and the director George Miller hilariously captures the claustrophobic hysteria of the situation while John Lithgow does a wonderful portrayal of a phobic airline passenger on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
Like numerous other anthologies, Twilight Zone is an uneven show, but its two stronger story segments along with its above average production quality lift it above the competition.