I decided to watch this after Polanski’s “The Tenant” and that was probably a bad choice, because that film is precious.
This one consists of three elements, typical of the King formula.
The first is the expression of terror, shaped safely so that you can watch but not be personally threatened. I think this is a King invention. Here, we know we would have taken seriously the warnings so he deserves what he gets. It relieves us.
The second element is trite, so far as I am concerned. Also a King specialty is to weave some sort of emotional trauma into the otherwise merely decorative horror. Here it is the death of our character’s child, which happened before we meet him. This allows for the final zinger.
The third element is the stuff I study and that King knows well. I call it narrative folding. Situations are nested in each other. Time gets shifted, at the same time that the period in the room proceeds in real time, even with a clock counting down. Ghosts inhabit ghosts and all people are ghosts. Cold is hot. Water is land. Daughter is wife.
This is the stuff that makes the film work, and I think it is done pretty well. Its why they picked Cusak. He understands this stuff. Has since “Malkovich” and “Fidelity” and mastered in “Identity”.
Posted in 2008
Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.