A farmer pens a confession admitting to his wife’s murder, but her death is just the beginning of a macabre tale. Based on Stephen King’s novella.
Information Page: https://uk.newonnetflix.info/info/80135164
The screen adaptation of Stephen King’s novella “1922”, squeezes out 1hour 42mins of Netflix Original and it certainly feels stretched. Thomas Jane as Wilfred James is overrated. Whilst we understand that James is not the brightest of characters, his droll tones, mumbling his way through the script, make for incredibly difficult viewing and could have warranted subtitles.
The first thirty minutes of the film showed promise in building the scene however from that point on what looked at to be an exciting, heart-poundingly terrifying, horror movie, was nothing more than a morality check. Husband and wife disagree on lifestyle matters and where to lay down roots. Wife wants to leave and take child. Husband panics, murders wife. That said there is little panic. Panic would have made for more excitement. Instead there was a methodical planning of the murder, involving manipulation of the son, which, like most murders goes terribly wrong.
As the synopsis details James is then haunted by his dead wife, however, the constant appearance of rats seems to be what is, in fact, haunting him. The part of James’ wife Arlette (Molly Parker) is not much better from a casting perspective. She is wooden, painted with a maniacal smile throughout. Almost comic book apocalyptic, zombie styled and very blue in colour! I suppose being murdered in a struggle and thrown down a well will do that to a girl. That’s not to say her initial post death appearance isn’t fear inducing, it is, however it’s also the scariest she appears throughout the duration of the film. Her subsequent visits are comedic at best, mundane at worst. These apparitions fail to induce the sweaty-palmed fear that is expected of a Stephen King horror story.
From this point on there are slight spoilers however since the film offers little more narrative than is in the trailer it shouldn’t be a problem. Fuelled by his dependence on prescription medication, James continues to be haunted by the rats. This psychological paranoia seemingly crosses the boundary to reality as one of the rats bite his hand. This is not the last of the terrible happenings in James’ life. His son Henry (Dylan Schmid) falls in love and as predicted by his late mother ends up an unmarried expectant father which in turn leads him on a path of destruction in his quest to be with his love, resulting in the death of them both. Now, given my usual premise for being more than a tad emotional even their final scene failed to evoke any emotion.
Mike Patton’s musical score for the film is haunting, primarily jazz and Hitchock-esque in style, the score is potentially the best thing about the film however even that became a little irritating, in my opinion. (I recognise that I am not fan of jazz as a genre of music and this may have influenced my opinion on the presentation of the score however I did find it irritating.)
The clear moral of the story is “Don’t kill your wife; bad things will happen to you.” The story itself is not a bad one. As mentioned earlier, the core narrative, as old as time itself, can be applied to modern day life (broken relationships mess up families) but for me Hilditch failed to deliver what other recent directors have achieved in creating outstanding screen adaptations of Stephen King’s works.
I felt hugely disappointed as I’d been looking forward to the film since watching “Gerald’s Game“. “1922” struggled in comparison and as a film, in its own right, which only serves to prove how difficult it is to bring Stephen King’s literary works to the screen and how very different the results can be.
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