A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 1922 is based on a novella by Stephen King and is a violent, gory tale of murder and insanity. Set in the year 1922 on a farm in Nebraska, intense conflict within a family leads to its destruction. Shot with every intent of shocking and disturbing its audience, the film basks in the macabre, including (spoiler alert) an abundance of rats -- climbing in and over corpses, coming through walls, marching together as a vicious army. Expect plenty of blood and horrific visuals of the undead as well as the dying. Guns and knives wreak havoc on the innocent and on the guilty. Some cursing ("goddammit," "Christ") is heard, along with a mother's coarse cautionary words to her 14-year-old son about not engaging in sexual intercourse (i.e., "keep your willy in your pants"). Central characters drink heavily, which leads to drunkenness in multiple instances. Lead character smokes a pipe. Stephen King's work seems a never-ending source of movie and TV material. Some stories, like The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, emphasize the drama rather than the horror. This movie merits a place among his grisly best. No kids.
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What's the story?
It's 1922 on an isolated farm in Nebraska when Wilfred James (Thomas Jane) determines that he must murder his wife, Arlette (Molly Parker). Arlette has inherited 100 acres of adjoining land from her father and insists on selling it and moving to the big city (Omaha), whether Wilfred wants to join her or not. She's not to be reasoned with. What's more, she promises her husband that Henry (Dylan Schmid), their 14-year-old son, belongs with her. Threatened with losing all he holds dear (the farm and his son), Wilfred manipulates young Henry into being his accomplice. After the deed is done, and Arlette's voluntary absence has been explained away satisfactorily to the locals, the relationship between Wilfred and Henry, complicated by the boy's devotion to a neighbor girl, begins to come apart -- as does Henry's sanity. A series of ghastly misadventures sends both father and son on the road to retribution.
Is it any good?
Terrifyingly demented, with standout performances, this slow-moving but devastating tale of murder and insanity from a Stephen King novella is solid fare for fans of the horror genre. Thomas Jane creates a vivid portrait of a man bound by the limits of the world into which he was born and the constraints of his judgment. The length to which he will go to meet his "needs" is infinite. And he's paid back like a rat in a trap. Supporting players, including the fine Brian d'Arcy James and Neal McDonough, as well as Parker and Schmid, are first-rate. Director Zak Hilditch, working from his own adaptation of King's book, doesn't mind the unhurried pace -- all the better to make his audience squirm and recoil. The "ewww" factor is relentless as the story takes shape. 1922 is definitely not for the squeamish.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the grisly scenes in 1922. Do the gory scenes make you laugh? Disgust you? Make you turn your head away? Why do you think people, including many teens, respond to horror movies like this one? What ages do you think can handle this type of violence? Why?
In what ways do the creators of the story and movie effectively show the psychological consequences of murderous behavior? How did both Wilfred's and Henry's lives become forever changed after their evil act? How much of what Wilfred "saw" do you think was real, and how much was in his head?
How did the farm setting contribute to the overall atmosphere of the movie? Think about how the director, Zak Hilditch, moved the camera among the wheat fields and the wide shots of the farm. How did both the photography and music help convey the horror Hilditch was after?
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