Genre: Crime | Drama | Horror |
Runtime: 102 min
Director: Zak Hilditch
Starring: Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Dylan Schmid
A simple yet proud farmer in the year 1922 conspires to murder his wife for financial gain, convincing his teenage son to assist. But their actions have unintended consequences.
TYPICAL DECENT KING-HORROR
I love the famous horror writer Stephen King’s work, both his own and adaptions, even though there are some “hits” or “misses”. When it comes to this story, only reading the summary, I didn’t know this was based on one of King’s novellas. I’m maybe too familiar with his typical famous work, such as IT and Pet Sematary, because I was looking for the typical signs of the misunderstood writer, psychic kid and Maine already in the poster, but however I was pleasantly surprised how much “King-ism” this film really have.
It’s interesting how you get to follow this struggling farmer Wilfred who slowly degenerating mentally and physically throughout the film, from the main obstacle that his wife (and landowner) want to move them from the farm to the city, threating with divorcing, selling the land and take the son with her if Wilfred doesn’t concede, to the end where Wilfred’s life is destroyed with the consequences of him killing his wife. The plot blends this unfortunate realistic scenario with loved ones killing each other, with the horror elements of a ghostly revenge-story. It doesn’t try to explain how the horror parts happened, how his wife can seek revenge through ghostly powers, the filmmakers only explain why she does it, revenge.
It’s so clever way of storytelling because we the viewers fill in the blanks subconsciously. We don’t need no mystical curse or meteor falling to earth to explain how. We don’t even need HOW at all, only why, and that is what we get here in a masterfully way by the director and with a touch of King’s literally style.
I really think that this movie has a lot of strong parts, that feels somewhat surprising for not too much talked about Netflix-production. To boil down my criticism to main parts, it’s the rush of the story and the effects, because I like the story and the works of the actors. My favorite being is Thomas Jane as a hillbilly farmer with a strong dialect; Wilfred James. He is a very solid lead that takes the focus in the room even when he has his demon wife smacking her lips in his ear.
The bad parts are really that the events feel clipped and rushed. I think it goes right from the introduction to the killing. I can see the father and son’s motivation to do it, but I would like to have a more natural transition to the decision, by showing more of their day-to-day life and struggle and let it boil up to a more harsh and impulsive killing. The events in the rest of the acts also go by very fast, but it feels more natural because Wilfred’s life is supposed to meltdown in tragic madness because he has his dead demon wife after him. By making the first events more slowly, the end would have more effect on us.
I loved the practical effects like the wife’s dead-make-up but I hated the CGI-effects, such as some of the rats. This is probably a matter of taste, but I really hated the CGI and they should have put some of that budget to the make-up so we could have more of that. I maybe wanted to have the bodies more grotesque and nightmare looking. She died a brutal way and it should look like that. The build-up to her reveal is so strong that I only wished that it was more traumatizing like the plot itself, which is a man who only cares about the material things in his life, such as the soil and not the people on it, but he learns his lesson the bad way and take everyone with him.
Richard Bengtsson | Journalist.