Friday, March 18, 2016

Film Review: Stephen King's Bag of Bones (2011)

Stephen King's Bag of Bones (Review)
United States/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...it's scary, exciting, and engaging."

After the death of his wife, best-selling author Mike Noonan (Pierce Brosnan) retreats to his summer home on Dark Score Lake, where he soon finds he may not be alone...

Stephen King's Bag of Bones is a two-part film/TV miniseries. (I'll refer to it as a film from this point forward.) The film follows Mike Noonan, a best-selling author. Soon after releasing another hit book, his wife, Jo Noonan (Annabeth Gish), is killed in a car accident. Mike falls into alcohol and spirals into depression, but is soon offered the opportunity to write again. In order to do so, Mike retreats to his summer home – a home where Jo spent plenty of time. As he struggles to write, Mike finds Jo may still be contacting him from the dead, which is welcomed. To his utter dismay, he finds the pair may not be alone and other spirits may linger. During his time at Dark Score, Mike also dabbles in other people's affairs, which play a significant role in the narrative. I'll stop here in my detailed synopsis, though. I don't want to spoil anything and I think you get the gist. I wasn't a big fan of the ending, but it wasn't horrible.

Stephen King's Bag of Bones is a very good film, though. Although I'm committed to calling it a 'film,' it does feel a bit wrong since the 'film' feels more like a TV show – a TV show with a lot of commercial breaks. That was one of my minor gripes. The blatant fades for the commercial breaks made the storytelling feel a bit disjointed. It just doesn't work well with this type of story. Anyway, the rest of the film is good. Hell, it's even occasionally great. It's an engaging blend of supernatural mystery and horror. Some of the characters are a bit comical, as in overdone, but everything feels unique. The film has personality. If you're a fan of jump-scares, this one has quite a few. Thanks to the moderate suspense, most are jolting, too. There isn't much to say about it because it certainly wasn't terrible, but it wasn't magnificent, either. It was just good, which is perfectly fine.


The acting was good, too. I liked Pierce Brosnan as the lead. He nails a wide range of emotions. Melissa George, who also plays a significant character, was also charismatic. The cast is all-around fine. The film is shot well and the music was great. In fact, the soundtrack was superb – it's great on the ears. This miniseries-turned-film is written by Matt Venne and directed by Mick Garris – based on the novel by Stephen King, of course. The writing is fine for the most part. There are some bizarre exposition scenes, like one in the middle of a car chase, but most of it is written well enough. Mick Garris sure knows how to craft a horror scene, though.

Overall, Stephen King's Bag of Bones is a very good miniseries/film. For fans of horror and the supernatural, the story delivers plenty of mystery and a handful of very effective frights. I didn't think the miniseries format was well-suited for this particular story, though. I wasn't a fan of the ending, either. Regardless, it's scary, exciting, and engaging. Is it worth nearly three hours of your time? Sure. Well, only if you haven't caught the better Stephen King adaptations, like The Shining.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood, some brief sex.

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