1922 was the first of two Stephen King stories to get the Netflix Original treatment in 2017. Gerald’s Game being the first. Set on a Nebraska farm the film focuses on three main characters. Wilf (Thomas Jane) is the family man who lives on a quiet rural farm with his wife Arlette (Molly Parker) and their 14-year-old son Henry (Dylan Schmid).
When Arlette comes into an inheritance, she sees it as an opportunity for the family to escape their dreary existence on the failing farm. She dreams of opening a dress shop in the big city. Husband Wilf is dead set against the idea and vows to remain on the farm. Arlette gives her husband an ultimatum, come with her to the City or lose his wife and son forever. Faced with losing everything, Wilf conspires with his son to rid themselves of Arlette and use her money to secure the farms future.
Edgar Allens Poe’s gothic horror ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ shares many of its themes with King’s short story. Although, Stephen King has the ability to flesh out characters in a way Poe never could. The film’s small cast does a fantastic job. The main protagonist Wilf is no hillbilly caricature. Thomas Jane plays the troubled father perfectly with a measured performance. Molly Parker is well cast as the downtrodden wife, who still possess a steely resolve.
King expertly works the tension between the couple. Building to the inevitable disastrous outcome which changes the lives of Wilf and Henry forever.
Director Zak Hilditch captures the beauty of the rural landscape with breathtaking wide shots. These contrast against the tight claustrophobic scenes inside the house. This film skirts the boundaries between horror, thriller and crime genres. 1922 is a tale of guilt and the mental toll it takes on people. Fans of slasher-style horrors will be underwhelmed by the pace of the action. However, those with an appetite for macabre tales will appreciate this well-constructed movie.