Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of Netflix's 1922?
From the summer hit IT to the recently released THE DARK TOWER, audiences cannot get enough of Stephen King adaptations. The next addition comes in the form of the new Netflix film 1922.
The adaptation stars Thomas Jane as Wilfred James, the intense patriarch of a Nebraskan family in the 1920's. His wife Arlene (played by Molly Parker) wishes to move to a city for a better life, but James disapproves, as he always planned to live the rural life until he dies. Arlene is intent on moving with their son Henry (Dylan Schmid), so James plans THE ONE thing he knows will stop her: he plans to murder her.
The film will start streaming on Netflix this Friday October 20th. Before then, take a look at the reviews to see if the critics enjoyed the thriller!
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter: "Jane, who delivers this weathered laborer's dialogue through clenched teeth, is not as demonstrative as most previous big-screen recipients of King's slow-build insanity. The film is not lurid in its scares, and instead depicts its protagonist's suffering mostly as a slow rot. Contrast that with the plight of Henry, whose misadventures could drive a more active crime-spree movie but are depicted here calmly, from a distance. Wilf manages to live eight years beyond the year the movie is named for. But he might as well have fallen into that well the day he buried his wife."
Joe Leydon, Variety: "Jane persuasively devolves into madness, or something like it, as the hidebound and rawboned Wilfred, while Schmid and Bernard are aptly sympathetic in their supporting roles. Parker adds a sprinkling of playful sauciness to her otherwise tightly wound portrayal of Arlene, and McDonough works emotionally impactful wonders while underplaying Harlan's final confrontation with Jane. Better still, the period detail is unassumingly impressive in this Netflix production, which uses Vancouver locations as reasonable substitutes for urban and rural Nebraska."
Eric Kohn, IndieWire: "Despite the setting, this is a pretty familiar routine, one that suggests the poor man's THE SHINING in more ways than one. Yet again, a desperate middle-aged man goes insane at the hand of his own extreme desires, and it's a given that he'll never escape unscathed. Even so, 1922 manages to unearth the poetry of that formulaic trajectory. "In the end, we all get caught," Wilfred sighs, and the movie amplifies what it means to experience that inevitability as a chilling slow-burn descent. It doesn't take any shocking new twists, but musters just enough fresh polish to a classic scenario to make it worth one more ride. Grade: B+."
Todd Gilchrist, The Wrap: "Ultimately, even amidst the rodents and decomposing human remains, 1922 chugs along with predictable familiarity and too little escalation, expounding upon its thesis in only a single, underwhelming way: guilt indeed eventually catches up with everybody, but man alive, it sometimes takes way too long."
Tasha Robinson, The Verge: "It has its problems, though they mostly stem from King's source material. Hilditch sticks closely to King's narrative, apart from a surprising change in the literal last second of the story. But that means he inherits King's plot structure, which among other things has a considerable amount of the story only being revealed through a sort of magical vision, and only after the fact. On the other hand, Hilditch doesn't take as much time as King did in laying out the characters. Like THE TELL-TALE HEART, the film version of 1922 races toward the mechanics of the murder without spending enough time on establishing who the protagonist is, and whether murder is naturally in his makeup, or he has to struggle his way toward it. Like virtually all the King adapters who respect his strikingly individual storylines instead of radically rewriting them into something more generic and obvious, Hilditch keeps some of King's actual language, turning it into a voiceover where Wilf explains his inner thoughts. But that alone doesn't go far enough toward explaining who Wilf is, or why his story should matter to viewers. He's a much more quickly sketched character here than he is in King's story, and that hurts the momentum."
Kristy Puchko, Nerdist: "To his credit, Jane gives a great performance. Speaking always in a restrained snarl through locked teeth, he gives Wilfred a mix of Southern geniality and masculine menace that's almost compelling in spite of the insipid script. In her brief screen time as the spiky wife, Parker is exciting. But too soon she becomes just another dead girl, more prop than person. Playing the corrupted Henry, Schmid is promising. His big mournful eyes swallow audience empathy like a thirsty duckling. But before long the story's lost him, and we're left with a sick, sad, wicked man bumbling around his farm house alone and miserable. Bled dry of suspense and true horror, 1922 is a dismal affair. Perhaps Hilditch was aiming for slow-burn horror, but all he mustered was a patience-trying bore."
Haliegh Foutch, Collider: "1922 struggles a bit with pacing, rushing the early bits and dragging out Wilf's long fall. The film tests audience patience a bit, the epitome of a slow burn. But 1922 also has the strength of a simple, direct story, which Hilditch honors in full (aside from one last-minute tweak) by crafting the simmering tension of certain dread. Atmospheric and sparing, 1922 is one of King's subtle nightmares, but it packs a punch by inspecting the familiar terrors of masculine pride gone wrong and the sinking spiritual punishment of a man who chooses his own damnation. Rating: B."
Photo Credit: 1922 Official Trailer