I came across an article some time ago that cited this as one of the worst Stephen King movies ever made. Naturally, I had to check it out. It wasn’t painful to watch, but it wasn’t very good either.
There are a lot of odd cornball moments. Gage’s funeral being a notable one. Also, Louis’ “Noooooo!” after his son was hit by the truck was on par with Vader’s from Episode III. There are other moments that are so bizarre that they leave you more perplexed then creeped out.
The weakest element though is the acting, Dale Midkiff has no range. He could seriously give Keaunu Reeves a run for his money. Throughout the movie he has the same expression on his face and his voice rarely changes tone. Seeing as how Louis’ emotional turmoil is the backbone of the story, this weakens the film quite a bit. When he does try, he fails miserably. The woman who played Zelda, Rachel’s sister, wasn’t very good either, pretty hammy if you ask me. The rest of the cast does a decent job for the most part.
The climax is where the film really peaks. It’s well directed and creates an aura of suspense as people slowly move down hallways while Gage laughs and beckons to them. Gage works best as an off-screen villain. Hearing the little kid giggling and calling to people is actually really creepy, once he emerges and you see the kid snarling and trying to act scary, you have to laugh yourself because the kid doesn’t sell it at all. You can’t really blame him for it, he’s a little kid, but it just doesn’t work.
Still, as a villain, I have to give him props. He slices through Jud Crandall’s achilles’ tendon, cuts a glasgow smile onto his face and then rips out Jud’s throat with his teeth. You have to admit, that’s pretty hardcore. Demon kid doesn’t screw around.
The screenplay is good for the most part. King himself wrote it. It has its flaws but it’s definitely not the weakest thing in the movie. Oh, King also has a cameo as a priest. I laughed.
The score was really good, Eliot Goldenthal created a really creepy atmosphere with his soundtrack. There are also two songs by the Ramones; so they pretty much nailed it on the musical front.
The movie kind of rips off The Shining in a lot of ways. Their daughter, Ellen, frequently has visions of events that are either happening while she’s unaware, or are about to happen; her parents give her the nickname “doc”, and she has an invisible friend who talks to her. In fairness, the “invisible friend” is very different from Tony and plays a very different role in this film, but the similarity is definitely there.
Wasn’t it odd how the resurrected cat acted perfectly normal around everyone, but the instant Louis walked into the room it went all demonic? I found that odd. Also odd was Missy’s role. She didn’t really do much. She was weird, but had no impact on the story. You could’ve cut her out completely and not affected the story in any way.
I also had to shake my head in contempt when Louis takes his wife up to the burial ground. After all that, he still hasn’t figured out the moral of the story despite Jud flat out telling him what it was, idiot.
This is definitely one of the weaker King adaptations. It’s not a pain inducing experience, on the contrary, you can riff on it pretty easily, but definitely not one I would recommend overall.
Oh yeah, and the ending….eeeeww, necrophilia is gross.