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Jessica Biel shines in one hell of a true horror story

Jessica Biels enormous eyeglasses and short tight perm tell us that we are at the end of the 1970s but where and why? Her deranged soliloquy about a tree being cut down to make a cross for Jesus offers no real clue.

As it happens we are in Wylie Texas and theres no reason to be in that neck of the woods except for the truly shocking death of housewife Betty Gore who was struck no fewer than 41 times with a wood splitting axe.It was a hell of a case. And as retold by series creators Nick Antosca and Robin Veith the story makes one hell of a five-part limited series.Veith Emmy nominated three years running for her writing on Mad Men and Antosca who brought us the even more shocking and tragic true story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard in The Act Foxtel Binge quickly establish a milieu of howling suburban desperation.Biel is Candy Montgomery a housewife deeply unsatisfied in her lifeless marriage to husband Pat Timothy Simons who played the gangling Jonah in Veep.

Melanie Lynskey is Candys neighbourhood friend Betty who lives in a different kind of misery with her husband Allan Pablo Schreiber. Where Candy rattles with an energised dissatisfaction Betty moves in a treacle of sadness and resentment having lost her job as a teacher and seeking validation in fostering a troubled young boy to raise alongside her young daughter.The fateful factor is the fact that both Candy and Allan play in a mixed volleyball league a casual competition that episode director and Mad Men alum Jennifer Getzinger renders through Candys eyes as an intolerably lust-inducing pressure cooker where its only the tight tank tops and flimsy shorts keeping the players from collapsing into a swingers free for all beneath the net.

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