In an attempt to keep his home, a man does the unthinkable. His decision results in the loss of everything he holds dear.
The year 2017 has definitely been a good one for Stephen King. No matter how you feel about their quality, this year has provided the FX series The Mist, The Dark Tower, IT, and Gerald’s Game (to name a few). The newest adaptation of his work is the Netflix original film, 1922.
1922 is based off of the Stephen King novella of the same name. It stars Thomas Jane (the 2007 film adaptation of The Mist) as the lead character, with supporting roles played by Dylan Schmid, Molly Parker (House of Cards), Neal McDonough (Arrow), and Brian d’Arcy James (13 Reasons Why).
Once again, as with all of the Stephen King reviews I have done so far, I’m not familiar with the source material for this film. I hadn’t even heard of 1922, so I went into this film completely unaware of what I was getting into. It was because of the success of Gerald’s Game that I was so excited to give this one a shot.
The writing and overall story in this film is really great. It’s a wonderfully woven tale. The film begins with the main character penning a confession. It then travels back in time to that fateful year, 1922. In that year, the main character made a decision that would go on to impact his life forever.
I really have to hand it to Thomas Jane here. He is completely believable as his character. He falls right into it, and I’m completely there with him. I almost didn’t recognize him, not only because of the costume design, but also his accent and mannerisms. He has an incredibly strong accent here, and that could have gone really badly. Yet, he manages to pull it off with finesse. His presence is commanding. He wasn’t Thomas Jane to me. He was Wilfred James, a man who made a terrible decision and reaped the consequences of it.
His story is about grief and regret. It’s about pride and greed. It reiterates the time old adage that no good comes from evil deeds. It’s definitely a slow burn film that sticks with you. There are very minimal jump scares, if there are any at all. It feels much more like a sense of dread, loss, and hopelessness. Oh, and the rats. If you have a fear of rats, you might want to skip this one for your own sake. Rats are a constant theme.
There were definitely some moments in this that made me want to jump out of my seat. It has some shocking imagery. There are a handful of parts that could be considered gory, but I would continue to describe them more as shocking. It predominantly deals with rats and decomposing bodies. Just brace yourself for it. It gets dark.
Costuming, set design, and cinematography are all really beautiful in this. Set in the country, 1922 has a lot of sweeping landscapes and big open skies. The set design and costumes all seem really authentic. It all adds up to create a film that works wonderfully as a period piece. The sound design is pretty brilliant here as well. I have a lot of great things to say about it. I like being able to say a lot of good things.
Overall, I’m seeing pretty positive feedback about this one. There are people who have complaints. I’ve seen some say that the first and third act are rushed. I didn’t feel that way personally, but I suppose I can see where they are coming from.
I think a lot of it has to do with development for the main character. There is practically nothing to suggest that the main character would commit such a heinous act. Without Thomas Jane’s dedication to the role, this could have completely derailed the film.
If you’re looking for something that’s jump-out-of-your-seat thrilling, you won’t find that with 1922. This film is more unsettling than anything. It aims to chill you with the lack of feeling, the calculated nature of such a heinous crime. It aims to shock you with images that will stick with you, the same way they haunt the main character.
I really enjoyed this film. I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a good slow burn psychological horror. This one really delves into the human psyche.