Director: Zak Hilditch
Netflix has shown no signs of slowing down with their original content, in fact, by 2018 they’ve announced that they plan on releasing over 80 original films and look to have over 50% of their content be original. A lot of original content is for naught if it isn’t quality content, in Netflix’s case, luckily, they’ve produced mostly good films and TV shows. Netflix has made some clever agreements and wrapped up some interesting intellectual properties, recently for example, we were treated to an adaptation of a Stephen King novella, Gerald’s Game, although not a spectacular movie, it was a decent film. This past Friday, Netflix released a second King adaptation, 1922, and it would appear that although not quite perfect, it is another step in the right direction for the streaming giant.
Wilfred James (Thomas Jane) lives in his personal slice of heaven, he has his land and he has someone to leave it all to when he passes on, his son, Henry (Dylan Schmid). Wilfred’s land is 80 acres out in Nebraska, where there isn’t much to see beyond his corn fields. Wilfred’s wife Arlette (Molly Parker), is tired of the farm life and wishes to take off to the city to break away from the mundane. Wilfred simply does not agree with Arlette and when she threatens to sell the land and divorce him, taking with her his son, Wilfred allows his darker self to take over and commits a horrific act. As Wilfred attempts to cover up his actions, his guilt begins to consume him as it seems to manifest itself it in bizarre ways. So much so that Wilfred becomes unable to distinguish reality from fantasy, is Wilfred insane or are his visions real?
I thought Netflix did an overall good job with their last Stephen King adaptation, Gerald’s Game. If not for the last 10 minutes of the movie, I thought it would’ve been excellent, it would seem in that film, not all things translated well from paper to film. In the case of 1922, Direct Zak Hilditch, seemingly only kept the facets of the novella that would adapt well on film. I can see some, however, not being fans of the movie’s pace, the plot unfolds slowly over the film’s runtime of an hour and forty-one minutes. Personally, slow work just fine for me if the story is interesting, and the plot calls for it, as some stories need to be slow to allow the viewer to be more invested in the characters. This is a movie about guilt, much like Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart, we need to see how it affects Wilfred for us to understand his unraveling. With all that being said, the movie could likely shave off about 10 minutes and not lose any of the unnerving scenes or memorable moments, really, aside from that, I think this is a good movie. One thing that should be made clear about 1922, is that it leans more towards the psychological side of the horror genre and although there is a scene that is quite graphic, this isn’t a gory slasher type of film.
Netflix once again has delivered a theater quality production onto the small screen. With it’s continued dedication towards original content, it would come as no surprise if it’s already 100 million subscribers balloons up even further. If you like the psychological horror films and King adaptations, I think this film is up your alley. The plot and acting are more than good enough, especially Thomas Jane, to also lure in the more casual horror fan as well.