Entertainment Magazine

Netflix Review: 1922 Is a Steinbeckian Tell-Tale Heart for Stephen King Fans

Posted on the 13 December 2017 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

1922 is the story of what evil men might do when pressured by both family and larger economic forces to change.

Thomas Janes plays Wilfred James, a Nebraska farmer who oddly talks more like he's never ventured north of the Mason-Dixon line and dresses as if the local co-op had a clearance sale on denim overalls. The land he tills actually belongs to his wife, Arlette (Molly Parker), who inherited it from family and is desperate to sell it to a sharecropper. She wants to use the money from a sell-off to move to Omaha and open up a dress shop. She also wants a divorce and insists on taking their 14-year-old son Henry (Dylan Schmid) with her. Wilfred just wants to keep farming and will not stand for any woman trying to take his son away from him. So, he manipulates his son into helping him kill Arlette.

Netflix Review: 1922 Is a Steinbeckian Tell-Tale Heart for Stephen King Fans

That covers roughly the first third of 1922. The rest of the film, all of which is narrated by Wilfred via a letter admitting his crimes, concerns itself with the inevitable cover-up effort and gradual mental and spiritual deterioration of the perpetrators of such a heinous deed. Because it's all based on a Stephen King novella, you automatically expect there to be a supernatural twist, perhaps some familiar variation on Pet Sematary or Sometimes They Come Back. What ends up happening, though, has more in common with Edgar Allen Poe's Tell-Tale Heart. An increasingly guilt-ridden Wilfred starts seeing strange things and can't quite shake a rat infestation in his house, the hairy rodents having apparently developed a taste for human flesh after dining on poor Arlette's corpse. Is this going to turn into a game of human vs. hungry rats? Or do the rats simply act as a harbinger of Arlette's inevitable return?

1922 isn't exactly in a hurry to answer those questions. In fact, 1922 is never in a hurry to do anything. It's a slow, methodical movie which, at 101 minutes long, feels like it's trying to milk just a little too much out of what is really a novella-length story. As such, the most crucial scenes might just be the occasional drop-ins with Wilfred in 1930 as he writes his confession in a Omaha hotel room. There, he acts as if he's being hounded by some unseen force piling up outside his door or trying to get to him through the ceiling. Thus, before we know for sure what twists awaits Wilfred in 1922 we know that by 1930 it has him in a last will and testimony frame of mind.

That element helps 1922 maintain at least some sense of narrative urgency, but that's never the primary goal. Instead, this is a drama dressed in a horror movie's clothing, depicting a truly horrible murder and watching as some kind of curse or perhaps an epic run of bad luck continually punishes the father and son who had the audacity to murder an innocent woman. Mix in an undercurrent of Steinbeckian, Grapes of Wrath-esque commentary on big businesses buying out small farmers and you have a film which fascinates more than it titillates.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Not scary. Kind of slow. A bit too much of Thomas Janes doing his mockable version of a 1920s accent. Yet 1922 still registers as watchable for genre fans due to its admirably bitter heart and a healthy helping of atmosphere. It's the lesser of Netflix's two Stephen King adaptations this year, though. Watch Gerald's Game first. If you like it, then give 1922 a look.

ROTTENTOMATOES CONSENSUS
Netflix Review: 1922 Is a Steinbeckian Tell-Tale Heart for Stephen King Fans
RANDOM PARTING THOUGHTS

1. I wonder if Stephen King named him "Wilfred" as an Easter Egg for Willard fans, what with the rats and everything.

2. Two cows are mercy-killed in this movie, and I found it far more upsetting than I would have expected.

3. When Thomas Jane actually tries, as he does here, he can be a good actor.

4. Do NOT watch the trailer. It gives away the entire movie.

What did you think of 1922? Let me know in the comments.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey Review

    Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey Review

    When I first heard about Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey I dismissed it as a nothing more than a branding stunt put together by a couple of extreme sport... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Josh Peters
    DRINK
  • 7 Best Xbox One Emulator for Windows PC [Xbox Games on PC] 2018

    Have you ever wondered how you could play video games from gaming consoles to your PC? Atari, an arcade gaming company released the first video gaming console,... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Meet Rv
  • Cottage - I Belong in a Crofter's Cottage

    Cottage Belong Crofter's

    Isle of Barra There’s something very appealing about escaping to a crofter’s cottage in the north of Scotland. It is good for me to break away from the rat... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Ashleylister
    BOOKS, CREATIVITY, CULTURE, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Help Me Celebrate!

    Help Celebrate!

    by NinaTomorrow is the 7th anniversary of the Yoga for Healthy Aging blog. Whoa, it's actually hard for me to believe it. When I started the blog seven years ag... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Ninazolotow
    FITNESS, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING
  • Spoiler Alert | The CW Releases More ‘Arrow’ Premiere Images

    Spoiler Alert Releases More ‘Arrow’ Premiere Images

    “Green is the new black.” – Stephen Amell More photos from Arrow’s season 7 premiere episode, titled Inmate #4587, have been released, and these are all about... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Entertainmentjolt
    ENTERTAINMENT, TV & VIDEO
  • Disrupt Facebook!

    Disrupt Facebook!

    A business model is a plan for the successful operation of a business, identifying sources of revenue, the intended customer base, products, and details of... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Thinkibility
    BUSINESS, LIFE COACH
  • Carolina Strong & Have You Marked Yourself Safe?

    Carolina Strong Have Marked Yourself Safe?

    Still getting through Hurricane Florence here in the Carolinas. While I live in central NC, we have had our share of flooding, trees down, power outages and yes... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Midlifemargaritas
    LIFESTYLE