Review – 1922
Directed by: Zak Hilditch
Produced by: Zak Hilditch & Sammie Astaneh
Starring: Thomas Jane, Molly Parker & Dylan Schmid
Release Date: October 20th 2017
Earlier in the year, I wrote a review for the Netflix adaption of Gerald’s Game by Mike Flanagan. 1922 was another Stephen King story adapted for Netflix, released just a month after the surprisingly phenomenal Gerald’s Game adaption.
This meant that although 1922 is a very different movie to Gerald’s Game it was inevitably compared to Mike Flanagan’s surprise triumph upon its release. Going back to revisit 1922 for review four years later, it is in no way a bad film and it is unfortunate that it was released in the shadow of Gerald’s Game.
The movie is set up nicely, showing an older, shaken man writing out his confession in hopes of appeasing the guilt that has plagued him since he murdered his wife Arlette. We then see a younger version of the man. His name is Wilfred and we learn that he is very protective of the three things that he feels, ‘belong,’ to him; his son, his wife and his land.
Arlette professes a desire to sell the farm and move to the city, an idea that Wilfred outright refuses to go along with. The land that the farm is on belonged to Arlette’s father and so it is now in her name, meaning she has the final say officially on selling the land.
Wilfred tries to bargain with her, saying that he will buy the land from her in instalments, but Arlette knows that she can get a better price elsewhere and won’t have to wait years to receive the payment. This leads Wilfred to start planning his wife’s murder. Wilfred knows that his son wants to stay on the farm as well and so he manipulates him into helping him carry out and cover up the murder.
From this point on we have our ghost story. I’m actually rather hesitant to call it a ghost story, even though strictly speaking, it is one. This is more a tale of how guilt haunts a man beyond carrying out the heinous deed and how no bad deed goes unpunished. I don’t want to spoil too much here for those who reading who still have yet to see the film, but what follows is a relentless and depressing tale of regret and loss.
The cast in this film are great, Thomas Jane does a great job in the lead role of a man willing to go to any morbid lengths in order to retain what he believes belongs to him. Molly Parker and Dylan Schmid also do well in their roles as Arlette and Henry, respectively. The supporting cast is also solid.
The other stand out thing in the movie for me was the set design. I found the farmhouses and barns to be extremely believable and felt that the sets really added to the overall tone that the movie was going for and sold the era effectively as well.
My main complaint of the movie is the lack of any significant scares. The movie sets up a fairly creepy atmosphere at times, but never capitalises on it. A Stephen King ghost story that released the week before Halloween should be way scarier than this.
Back when the film first dropped in late 2017, I thought I was getting a truly chilling movie to sink my teeth into. Instead I got a movie showing a desperate man’s fractured psyche and the guilt he has to deal with in the aftermath of a despicable deed. Sure, all of that still makes for an interesting idea for a movie, it just isn’t exactly what I wanted out of this movie.
Overall though, 1922 is a very well made movie and for what it is it is great. Although it didn’t quite meet my personal expectations that I had for it back when it released that is my own problem rather than the movie’s. Four years separated from the trailers and build up to this film’s release, I actually feel like I can appreciate the film more and would even go as far as to say it is a hidden gem.
As with any Stephen King story, the plot of 1922 makes for an interesting adaption and takes you on a dark journey and leaves you wondering about you own moral decisions in life. The film is no doubt successful in what it sets out to do. I just wish that it had scared me slightly more.
If you enjoyed Dan’s review of 1922 and are into your Stephen King stories, you can check out our review of It: Chapter One here.
Buy tickets for BGCP Comic Con in and around Glasgow Scotland – BUY TICKETS
If you want to be part of the BGCP community, Join us on Discord, Twitter, Instagram etc then click HERE