Streaming Gems is an ongoing feature where we discuss movies recently released on streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu) that are worth your time.
RATING: ★★★ (out of four stars)
1922 is another Stephen King adaptation to come out in 2017 on Netflix (the first being Gerald’s Game), only it didn’t get a theatrical release like The Dark Tower and IT. Thomas Jane is no stranger to a Stephen King story, having starred in The Mist back in 2007. In 1922, Jane portrays Wilfred James, a prideful farmer who lives with his son Henry (Dylan Schmid) and wife Arlette (Molly Parker). He is a simple man and doesn’t take it well when his wife tells him she wants to sell the land and move away. You get the vibe that his character doesn’t like change and maybe this is why he doesn’t want his life uprooted. However, Arlette is very demanding during the move, which causes problems in the family. Eventually, Henry conspires to murder Arlette and asks his son to participate; as you can see, the story is pretty messed up. Thomas Jane delivers an impressive performance (in fact, his best in recent memory) as Henry. In most scenes he’s pretty convincing, except for a time or two when he stumbled through his dialogue with his forced southern accent. As for the rest of the cast, they’re all pretty average.
What really works well in 1922 is the writing, coupled with some really creepy imagery. I don’t want to spoil the plot, but I’ll say that the makeup was pretty convincing. The movie is a roller coaster when it comes to pacing, however. It isn’t bad by any means, but there were a few times when I checked to see how much time was left due to the sporadic pacing. 1922 certainly will keep your interest; just don’t be surprised if you get a little bored in the middle since the movie overall is a slow-burn. 1922 reminded me a lot of King’s 2007 adaptation 1408; it just wasn’t as well executed. Both movies were shot the same way, and both had similar editing tricks and subliminal dream sequences. But think of 1922 as a step down from 1408.
From the technical side, 1922 is very well made. The cinematography, lighting, and score are all very pleasing. This looked like a film that very well could have gotten a theatrical release (unlike some Netflix movies that look like low-budget streaming attempts at filmmaking). The costume design is very authentic, and, like I said earlier, the makeup and practical effects have plenty of merit. Also, shout out to whoever the “rat wrangler” was on set. He/she definitely had their work cut out for them while filming.
In a year full of Stephen King adaptations, 1922 is the second-best one to come out, just behind IT. With better pacing and effective acting from the supporting cast, 1922 could have been one of the best streaming movies of the year. I love seeing gems like this on Netflix and I hope they continue to put out well-made films like this one. Do yourself a favor and check out 1922, which is now streaming on Netflix.