Netflix Movie Night Streaming Review of "1922"
by The Headless Critic
Watching Movies – Without Your Head
1922 – 2017
Production by: Campfire
Distribution by: Netflix
“To whom it may concern. My name is Wilfred Leland James (Thomas Jane) and this is my confession. The issue that led to my crime and damnation was 100 acres of good land in Hemingford Home, Nebraska, willed to my wife, Arlette Christina Winters James (Molly Parker), following the death of her father. It was much my intention to add her 100 to our 80-acre freehold farm, as it was to someday pass it all on to my boy, Henry Freeman James, and to his thereafter.”
As a husband, Wilfred James thought about going to the law on his wife who was wanting to sell off the land that his son would someday inherit, but he’d come to hate her. Inside every man Wilfred believes there to be another man. The other man inside Wilfred James was capable of murder.
”In 1922, I murdered my wife. My son... aided me. This is a thing I regret, even more bitterly than the crime, for the reasons that this document will show.”
Wilfred James wasn’t capable of living with that murder though. He wasn’t capable of the guilt and the inclusion of his son. "In the end, we all get caught." It would haunt him for the rest of his life, literally.
It is impossible to say how first the idea entered Stephen King’s brain; but once conceived, it no doubt haunted him day and night. The horror fans knew, they heard! They suspected! They knew! They were making a mockery of King’s horror! Here again stands a tale, King’s tale, A Tell Tale Heart tale that once again translates into successful horror.
Book to film storytelling is hard to accomplish. The complexity of the longer book is usually lost on film. I’d never seen a Zak Hilditch movie before but he does as good a job as any hour and a half feature can in capturing a book. His use of narration is brilliant. A period piece film is hard to suspend disbelief and capture the time it’s supposed to be. 1922 does it with a simple farm setting. Hildich via King also uses rats better than any movie I can remember seeing since Williard brought fourth his rodent army.
Good performances aren’t commonplace and great performances are rare. Thomas Jane shows his acting abilities unlike I’ve ever seen him do before in an exceptional role. Jane reaches the same level Fred Gwynn did in his irreplaceable and iconic portrayal of Jud Crandall in another King book to film, Pet Sematary. Most of Stephen King’s dialogue stands apart from other writers. 1922 may stand out most. The words left behind that Thomas Jane doesn’t deliver are as equally as good and delivered well by Molly Parker. Arlette James is drunkenly quotable.
As sure as a cow would die if it fell in a well, 1922 immediately became one of my favorite films based on a Stephen King book. With the recent box office success of IT being redone, that's saying a lot for a movie that didn't make the big screen.
Available Now on Netflix
4 out of 5 Headless Critics