Stephen King has long been hailed as one of the masters of the thriller genre due to his plots, pacing and exceptional diction. The eeriness of King’s work can be felt by simply sitting down and reading one of his novels. However, when a phenomenal cinematic eye is applied to King’s words, an even more horrific experience is exposed. Stephen King’s works have been translated into a range of cult classics including IT, Cujo and Carrie to name a few. Despite the already large amount of King’s books that have been made into movies, filmmakers are not yet done creating haunting worlds out of King’s stories.
The latest film produced from a Stephen King creation is 1922, based on a novel of the same name. The film was released as a Netflix Original on Oct. 20, 2017 and follows the life of Wilfred “Wilf” James (Thomas Jane), a farmer from Hemingford Home, Nebraska. Wilfred lives with his wife Arlette (Molly Parker) and their teenage son Henry (Dylan Schmid). Arlette recently came into an inheritance and wishes to sell all the land her and Wilfred own and move to Omaha in search of a better life. Wilfred is adamant that he does not want to leave and the two discuss their options: Wilfred comes with her or she takes Henry and they divorce. Enraged by the prospect of losing his son, Wilfred convinces Henry to help him murder his mother using Henry’s love for their neighbor Shannon (Kaitlyn Bernard) as leverage. The murder is only the beginning of the horrors that both Wilfred and Henry endure in the eight years that follow.
The movie received a score of 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and has been praised by many as being a new level horror film that doesn’t rely on jump scares. Rather, 1922 takes seemingly small incidents and slowly builds them as Wilfred struggles with the cost of his actions. Writer and Director Zak Hilditch masterfully creates a world in which the line between supernatural and psychotic breaks are undefinable to the viewer as they wonder whether the guilt or Arlette haunt Wilfred.
Netflix has been noted for its countless number of acclaimed television shows and documentaries, but in recent years they have shown their viability in the film industry. Of course, when one takes a work from such a prolific and talented author like Stephen King, it isn’t hard to believe that the movie is as terrifying as it is.