Main cast: Martin Donovan (Cliff Addison), Julia Anderson (Abbey Addison), Robin Sydney (Trish), Corbin Bernsen (Ira), Linda Sorensen (Pam), and Anna Galvin (Dr Loring)
Director: Rob Schmidt
To say that dentist Cliff Addison has a bad day is an understatement. When Right to Die begins, he and his wife are arguing in their vehicle. You see, Abbey is from a very wealthy family, and you know how guys can be when their wives are the ones who pay for everything in their marriage: he has an affair with the nurse Trish, and they just have to keep a recording of their boinking on his phone. Abbey finds out, and oh boy. They are arguing when the vehicle goes oopsie. He manages to get out unscatched, but she is barbecued. However, she survives… barely. All her skin has been burned off, and unless they can find some donor to obtain an entire new coat of skin for her, she will say bye bye in a few days.
Cliff thinks that he should pull the plug – it’s what she would want. However, his mother-in-law launches a public suit to gain custody of Abbey. Worse, Abbey refuses to die despite flatlining a few times, and her ghost begins haunting Cliff during those moments when she is out of it, as he sulks and broods with self loathing and guilt in their now empty big house.
Rob Schmidt doesn’t have an impressive CV compared to some of the directors in this series (he only has Wrong Turn as his biggest film to date), but this episode is a great example of a horror outing that takes it time to simmer and boil. It is easy to imagine that Abbey’s ghost is a manifestation of his own tortured psyche – nothing is exactly what it seems in this episode – and that is the kind of horror that works best in my opinion. Visceral, believable, relatable, and yet terrifying – without having to resort to jump scares and other played out lazy gimmicks. There are also some very gruesome scenes here, but they are integrated beautifully into the plot. Everything about this one works very well and the slow pacing actually fits the episode remarkably.
If I have one complaint, though, it’s that this episode slowly builds itself up to a boiling point, only to suddenly lapse straight into dark humor that doesn’t gel well with the rest of the episode. The last few minutes of the episode feels jarring. Still, that’s just a small issue. Right to Die is all right, so right in so many ways.