If you’re in the mood for a thoroughly depressing movie, 1922 is right up your alley. Stephen King is a genius, but his movies have been hit or miss. Still, if you think about it, the adaptations of his novellas/short stories have been remarkably successful. Stand by Me, Shawshank, Children of the Corn, 1408, just to name a few. So I went into 1922 with a lot of optimism, particularly given that it is a Netflix special. Was I disappointed?
1922 is brilliant in so many ways. Beautifully shot. Wonderfully acted, with that slow burn build that the best horror movies have. Thomas Jane simply inhabits the lead character. There will be no awards for his performance, and that’s unfortunate, because he is brilliant. The screenplay is unendingly depressing, as we watch a farmer not only decide to kill his wife, but convince his son to help him carry it out. Things collapse from there, as the contagion that is murder spreads from the farm to the countryside and beyond. No one is spared.
1922 is a good movie. You won’t be bored. But there is something missing. I can’t say exactly what it is, and I would be interested to know if anyone else sees it. Maybe it’s the inevitability of things, the sense that nothing good is going to happen and there is no way to avoid the doom that is coming.
Maybe that’s part of the movie’s charm. After all, there’s something to be said for creeping dread. Still, for me at least, it kept the film from taking that next step to brilliance.
Am I saying you shouldn’t see 1922? No, definitely do. But I might have something happy ready to watch after.