This past Sunday & Monday nights A&E aired the two part, “four hour” adaption of the Stephen King novel “Bag of Bones” the story of a writer trying to get away to cope with the death of his wife. Like most small towns in a horror story, everything isn’t as seems. Did this adaption hit it’s mark? Read my thoughts after the jump!
Mike Noonan is a best selling author who has just released a brand new book to positive fan-fare. His wife Jo accompanies him to a book signing at a local book shop and suffers a devastating, unexpected death in one of the more brutal scenes of the movie. Following the funeral, Mike finds himself unable to get the creative juices flowing and also begins having visions of his deceased wife appearing in distress which leads him to get away for awhile at their vacation home in Dark Score Lake. That name isn’t the slight bit creepy, eh?
Shortly after Mike gets settled in, he begins getting signs and visions of other various dead residents of the small town from the past. And so the mystery of Dark Score Lake begins, a mystery that Mike Noonan will be determined to solve instead of doing what the rest of us would if they say gruesome visions of ghost corpses everytime they closed their eyes, which is get the hell out of town!
It wouldn’t be a Stephen King story unless a small town contained big secrets, right? No surprise here, there are some secrets in that lake and a curse upon a handful of it’s residents as well. In fact, Mike Noonan ends up involved with a local woman who’s daughter might just in fact be the last piece of lifting the curse off the town, one way or another.
Bag of Bones, forgive the pun, is a mixed bag. For the most part the horror elements all hit their mark. As the story progresses, the creep factor definitely increases. Every time a piece of the puzzle is solved, not only does the story take a turn for the macabre, but the scares also begin to pick up at a more rapid pace. By the time we are into the third act of the film, Mike Noonan has made up his mind that no ghost, or corpse, or crazy townie is going to stop him from making everything right and saving the day. However, just when he is sure he has succeeded he gets a rude reminder that “Custody comes with responsibility”
It’s always a tricky proposition adapting a Stephen King novel into a movie because King is known as an author who is detailed to a “t” Some people love him for it, others annoyed by it. Regardless, this is his style, which can sometimes make condensing the story for a standard movie length too much to take on. This would suggest that the Made-for-TV movie format is a preferred method, in being able to flesh out more of the story, keeping more meat on the bones. Unfortunately Bag of Bones feels a little too trimmed up. While viewers will get the gist of the story, it definitely feels like there was a bit too much sacrificed about the town and its habitats which is why the third act felt a little rushed to me. (point of note: I have not in fact read the book so for those who have, you might have a better perspective on story differences)
Still, if you are looking for a spooky mystery complete with some chilling scenes and brutal encounters (including a pretty wicked stabbing to the neck kill scene) I think Bag of Bones will be enough to keep you entertained. The cast, including Pierce Brosnan and Annabeth Gish. Melissa George, and a cameo by Jason Priestly, really help elevate the material. I’d imagine A&E will be replaying the series eventually and I am guessing it will only be a matter of time before the movie gets syndicated on networks such as Chiller & SYFY along with a permanent home on netflix!
I give Bag of Bones: 3 CreepyAnnabeth Gish Corpses Out of 5