"Sometimes dead is better"
That has to be one of my favorite lines in any horror movie ever made.
Rather than review this movie, I mostly just wanted to spend some time talking about how I think this movie is seriously underrated.
Whats so good about this movie?
All right! The plot for one is, in my opinion, excellent! Now, i'm pretty up to date about how Stephen King even scared himself by writing this book - as a person who does not have a child I can't really relate. I would imagine for those who do though, that this movie takes on a whole new meaning with the idea of losing your child and there being nothing you can do to stop it.
Overall though, the idea of putting something in the ground and having it come back not quite the way you put it in was a great device and something I found drove the movie (and the book quite well)
I also found the idea of Victor Pascow coming back and trying to help the family both interesting and a bit freaky.
The Acting (for the most part) is quite good as well. Surprisingly the lead actors leave a bit to be desired, but I will never be able to say enough good words about how completely awesome Fred Gwynne is in this movie. I can't read the book without hearing him talk, and he conveys all the fear and the "friendly neighbor" attitude that this character is supposed to.
Special mention goes to Church, the cat. Obviously the editing department had a big role in what he had to do, but the cat was cuddly and lovable at one point, and a complete monster the next - very well done and I haven't seen a cat that enjoyable except for the movie Hocus Pocus.
The Pacing in this movie seems quite brisk as well, and that is definitely in a good way. The book did tend to drag at certain points, and the movie (written by Stephen King) did away with any of the filler that would have taken away from the flow. This movie always ends before I want it to.
Okay, thats all well and good. Is there anything you don't like?
Just one thing really, and this is only a half complaint. And thats the ending with Gage. Now I don't actually think there is a convincing way that this could have been done to make it seem completely over the top like a circus, but thats why this is only a half complaint.
What I would have attempted myself though is to take the Jaws approach and maybe not show Gage. This would have given it more of a Black Christmas vibe and left what Gage looked like up the viewer, which might have been much creepier.
How does it stack up to the book?
Pretty good. Like I said before, the movie cuts out some of the parts that did not need to be there, although the movie could have benefited from the digging up Gage's body part (too morbid?) and the lengthier funeral part of Gage (too long?) but thats just my opinion. Considering I saw the movie before I read the book, I was pleasantly surprised with how much other stuff was in the book to keep me going. I'm not sure why they had to change the whole Norma situation in the movie, but it does not suffer because of it.
Maybe it's because I really like cats, maybe it's because I like Herman Munster out of make-up, but this is one movie I can't recommend highly enough. Now that this movie is out on blu-ray, (and it looks damn good too), now would be the time to either re-visit, or watch for the first time.
Here is a trailer for those unfamiliar: