1922 (2017) – Zak Hilditch

Thomas Jane stars in the Zak Hilditch helmed and adapted version of Stephen King’s novella, 1922. Wilfred James (Jane) is a proud farmer in middle America, where he lives with his son, Henry (Dylan Scmid) and his wife who has bigger dreams than living on a farm, Arlette (Molly Parker).

With Arlette’s land, added to his eighty acres, they have a hundred and eighty, and Wilf is determined to make it work, with his son at his side. Henry is going through his own things, however, as he’s discovered girls in the form of Shannon (Kaitlyn Bernard) from a neighbouring farm.

But he loves the farm almost as much as his father does. But Arlette wants to sell the land and move to the city (a place for fools according to Wilf), in fact, she’s already got the ball rolling on that.

Wilf isn’t keen on that idea and is beginning to concoct a darker idea, one that he practically coerces Henry to join him in, to murder Arlette, and make it look like she absconded.

The plan goes pretty well, but secrets never stay buried, and the truth will always out in the end.

Wilf, whether due to supernatural events, or his own guilt, begins to be haunted by Arlette, and a mischief of rats that plague him. Henry and Shannon’s life takes a horrible turn, and what started out as a perfect plan ends up destroying two families.

The film is moody and atmospheric, set on a remote farm, and intercut with Wilf penning his confession in a hotel room as he awaits some final visitors.

A little creepy, and very dark, the film is definitely worth a watch. I’m unsure of how close the film is to the source material having not read it, but it does feel like a King story. And the horror that Arlette becomes feels very much in keeping with the way King writes his ghosts.

I love the look of the film, the production is well-crafted, and the film is tightly paced, moving on at an enjoyable clip that leaves the viewer wondering if Wilf is seeing these things, or if his own guilt will drive him to madness.

The last shot suggests that they are supernatural, but even that could be Wilf’s perspective of things.

Jane is perfectly on point in the film, speaking with a rough, clenched delivery that is unnerving and makes him a frightening character, even as he is by the choices and actions he took in the year, 1922.

King adaptations don’t always work but over the last few years, productions have seemed to be intent on honouring the source material in ways that films of the 80s didn’t concern themselves with. This one is definitely one to take a look at.

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