A farmer conspires to murder his wife and convinces his teenage
son to help him, but his actions have far-reaching consequences.
Written and Directed by Zak Hilditch
Starring Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Dylan Schmid,
Kaitlyn Bernard, Neal McDonough
Based on the novella by Stephen King
1922 is a dark tale about man's greed and stubbornness, told in a way that could only be told by Stephen King. There's an hint of the supernatural, but like the story, the film leaves it up to you in the end. Thomas Jane delivers the performance of his career as proud but thoughtless farmer Wilfred James, who single-handedly destroys his family because he didn't want to give up his family farm. In one of the most well-adapted King stories done yet, 1922 shows you the unintended and far-reaching consequences of cold-blooded murder.
Wilfred James is stunned when his wife Arlette (Parker) inherits a valuable patch of land, which she intends to sell. She's adamant about selling this land to a pig-processing plant, which will make the farm a horrid place to live. She then tries to convince her husband to sell the farm along with the new land, which Wilfred resents. Unable to agree, Arlette demands a divorce, and threatens to take their son Henry (Schmid) with her. Realizing there's no other way to stop this, Wilfred convinces Henry to help him kill Arlette and hide her in a well. They do the deed, and it shatters Henry's innocence. What follows is a dark curse that Wilfred brings down upon his family, with the appearance of vicious rats and Henry's decision to run away. I won't spoil it, but it's dark and painfully human.
1922 leaves out virtually nothing from King's story, though Zak Hilditch does change the ending to make it more ambiguous. The film's ending leaves you to decide if the rats and the visions were all in Wilfred's head, or if he really was being haunted by his actions. It's a smart film that may not be one of King's most memorable stories or films, but it's certainly an intriguing one that will keep you thinking about it.