Based on the novella by Stephen King, “1922” captures the horror and destructive effects of concealing a murder vividly. The Netflix-produced movie follows the story of a father, Thomas Jane, battling his conscious and guilt after killing his wife, Molly Parker, and stashing her body in a well on his farm. His son, Dylan Schmid, fights his own ever-evolving thoughts on his father and the life he has created for him. As the story progresses, guilt manifests itself as a rat infestation that progressively eats away at the livelihood of the men. Thomas Jane’s raw, convincing performance creates a character as easy to hate as he is to fear.
“The reason [“1922”] works so well, in large part, is down to Jane,” film reviewer Rebecca Hawkes said. “The actor spends the entire duration of the movie speaking in an exaggerated rural drawl. He has explained in interviews, to recreate the original, uncorrupted regional accent of Nebraska.”
Jane’s performance is not the only part of the movie that fits the time period perfectly. The scenery and props send the viewer back to the rural Nebraska in the twenties, where human values were different than those of the present. The use of candle lighting not only keeps to the trend but also helps produce an ominous mood. Careful production and cinematography creates a foreboding tone throughout the entire film, making something as gentle as a family at dinner seem intimidating.
At its core, “1922” is not a gore-consumed film, but rather draws terror from the viewer by watching the characters slowly rip themselves psychologically apart. As the film progresses, it becomes increasingly clear the characters are drawing closer to insanity. While some critics claim the overall structure of the film makes the plot seem stretched too thin, others praise the production of the movie for being able to use a story only a hundred pages in length.
“[“1922”] is a terrific example of just how powerful horror movies can be,” film reviewer Rohan Naahar said. “Not only does writer and director Zak Hilditch employ a gorgeous, psychological slow-burn approach to the storytelling, he punctuates it with sudden bursts of visceral horror.”
Some moments within the film notably do not have the horrific effect that was intended, the clearest of these involving a certain scene with rats. This falter, however, can easily be overlooked due to how well-made the film is in its entirety. “1922” is available for streaming on Netflix only.