I’ve recently watched some absolutely terrific Stephen King film adaptations- DR. SLEEP, GERALD’S GAME, 1408, 1922- but this one is really disappointing, even weak. We know almost straight away who the killer is, when the protagonist discovers proof early on in the film.

Then the killer finds out almost immediately that the protagonist knows their secret. There are no twists, no more secrets, no more mysteries left to unearth. All that remains is to see what the protagonist does about the terrible knowledge they’ve acquired.

Joan Allen plays Darcy Anderson, a woman with two grown-up kids who’s just celebrated a milestone wedding anniversary with her husband, Bob, played by Anthony LaPaglia. (Does anyone else think that he could play George Bush Jr. in a biopic about, well, George Bush Jr.?)

As a couple, they still seem to have love and affection and even lust for each other after all this time. I mean, they still have sex with each other, despite their advanced years. Eeuw, wrinkly, old people sex, lol. Can you imagine…?

Anyway, Bob is always popping off on business trips and leaving Darcy alone for the night. On one such night, there’s a storm brewing when Darcy pops out to the shed in the rain and the dark to get batteries for the TV remote control, which has left her stuck on an unsavoury slasher horror film, tsk tsk. Whoever watches those must be properly out of their tree, ahem. (Don’t look at me, don’t looooook at me!)

And isn’t that terrible planning on the family’s part, to keep batteries for the TV remote control across the garden in the shed, instead of somewhere in the house, like in a kitchen drawer or something? People in horror movies are crazy.

I mean, you don’t keep your phone charger in next door’s attic, do you, or in the bird feeder down the end of the garden? You keep it somewhere to hand. Jeez. That’s housekeeping 101, is that. Unless the film-makers are using it as a device in order to give Darcy a reason to go into the shed while Bob is away, which they are…

(My housekeeping advice still holds good, though. Keep things close to the place where you’ll be using the things, and you won’t go far wrong. No doubt you’ll be using your boyfriend, husband or significant other for sex and suchlike bedroom shenanigans, so store them upright during the day when you’re not using them in a wardrobe or similar. I keep mine in a tall, narrow alcove when I’m not using them. Dustsheets are optional, but are especially useful if you’re going away without them, say, and won’t be needing to use them any time soon. That way, they should be still in pristine condition when you get home.)

Whilst rootling about for batteries, Darcy accidentally uncovers the identity of the serial killer of women who’s been operating out of their area for a good few years now. Let’s call him Mr. X, shall we, so as not to give away his identity? When Mr. X comes back from his business trip… No, that’s no good. It’s immediately obvious who the killer is from that.

What about this? Try this. While Bob is away on his business trip, Mr. X spies a woman he likes the look of on the road and follows her in his car. When Bob returns home from his so-called business trip, he makes it clear to Darcy that he knows she knows. About Mr. X being the killer, I mean.

Now it’s up to Darcy to decide what her next course of action is going to be. Staying married to Mr. X, erm, I mean, to, um, Bob, of course (Mr. X isn’t Bob, and Bob isn’t Mr. X, how could you possibly infer that from what I said???), isn’t going to be easy, under the circumstances.

By the way, how dare Mr. X keep his murder souvenirs and trophies in a special super-secret hiding place in Bob’s shed, which no-one ever goes into or uses but Bob Anderson? Damn and blast you, Mr. X! Get your own damn shed! Oh Lord. You all know who the killer is, don’t you? It’s just so obvious. We might as well wind this up, lol.

And I will, except to say that the film seems to be setting Busty Betty, Darcy’s younger, sexier friend, up for a bit of the old ultra-violence, courtesy of Mr. X, but then it simply never comes to pass, which feels like a massive swizz.

The whole feeling I get from this movie adaptation is one of incompleteness, or of something that isn’t properly finished or that someone hasn’t put enough thought into. Or a massive swizz, if you prefer.

Joan Allen is great in it, to give her her due, but the script is weak and the finished product is not as good as it could have been. Sorry, Steven King! I- mostly- love everything else you’ve done, but this one, erm, sucks a bit. Over and out.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
Her new book, THIRTEEN STOPS EARLIER, is out now from Poolbeg Books:

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