When marriage ends in murder

Jessica Boullion
(Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
“‘Til Death Do Us Part”
Mondays at 10 p.m.
Court TV

There’s something unsettling about John Waters’s pencil-thin mustache and gaunt figure. The ghost-like cult director (“Hairspray”) sets the tone of Court TV’s “Til Death Do Us Part,” offering appropriate doses of gaudy froth and malice to a series about spousal murder. Waters’s casting provides the perfect accompaniment to the show’s lurid stories.

“Til Death Do Us Part” is Court TV’s attempt at fictional television, drawing facts from true stories of matrimonial homicide. The tone is unabashedly satirical, and scenes often seem stolen from an episode of “Days of Our Lives.” This may be cold-blooded murder, but it’s all in good fun.

Waters, the self-described “Groom Reaper,” serves as host, narrating the similar tales of deceit over the show’s low-budget productions. Even the actors seem to be just barely concealing a smirk.

“Til Death Do Us Part” has no redeeming moral character, acting credentials or production value. It’s harmless fluff with all the attributes of an excellent guilty pleasure, especially for those just coming out of a relationship – or with an innate aversion to marriage. The show to some extent suggests that matrimony is a death certificate to be avoided at all costs, and while many will find this a repulsive concept, others can revel in its irreverence. Scorned lovers or betrayed spouses might even find it therapeutic to watch these fictional representations of their darkest desires. Just remember to take that aggression out on the Ben and Jerry’s – not the ex.


Swank braves plagues, South

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
The Reaping
At Quality 16 and Showcase
Warner Bros.

The devil made them do it.

That’s about the only explanation for director Stephen Hopkins (“Under Suspicion”) and two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank being involved in the abysmal new horror movie “The Reaping.”

Swank plays Katherine Winter, a one-time minister who has lost her faith. After a spiritual 180, she now investigates so-called miracles in order to debunk them with scientific explanations. After all her photo of her begin to burn spontaneously, she’s warned by her old friend Father Costigan (Stephen Rea, “V for Vendetta”) that her life is in danger. When all the burned pictures are put together they form – gasp! – a scythe, which is somehow construed as the mark of the devil. This clearly isn’t a good sign.

Soon Katherine is called into a small town called Haven to investigate what appears to be a case of the 10 Biblical plagues and discovers an 11th – classic horror movie clich

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