The Dark Half (1993) [REVIEW]

 

If you’ve been paying any sort of attention to my blog at all, you’ll see that I’ve been thinking a lot about Stephen King lately, which is what led me to watch this movie. I vaguely remembered the trailer for it when it originally came out, but apparently I had replaced Timothy Hutton for Kyle Maclachlan. How the fuck am I supposed to keep the two of them straight, huh!? They both had dark hair and seemed like they were both fucking weirdos. Oh yeah, let’s not forget the fact that I was NINE years old when this came out. Jesus, I don’t mean to make anyone feel old by saying that’s how old I was, but it’s the truth. That’s what you get for making me feel like an asshole for confusing the two of them.

 

Uh oh, looks like Hutton has that crazy “I’ve got bandages on my head” look in his eyes.

Thad Beaumont (Hutton) is a college professor and writer who has yet to find success under his own name, but has found a great deal of success under his pen name of George Stark. These books are pulpy crime novels, which clearly aren’t within the realm of Thad’s real life, so when someone discovers his secret and threatens to expose him, Thad embraces the opportunity and publicly “buries” George Stark. That’s when shit gets funky. A series of murders start happening where the victims are all people involved in “killing” George Stark. The clues point to Thad, but the audience can see he clearly isn’t anywhere near any of the crime scenes of victims when these murders occur. Trying to find answers about what’s going on, Thad recalls surgery he had as a child where he had a tumor removed from his brain. The tumor would cause hallucinations, mostly of sparrows, along with other visions and sounds. It turns out that the “tumor” that was removed was a twin that he shared a womb with, but Thad absorbed the other twin and physical evidence was left attached to his brain. This means Thad has some sort of psychic bond or mental powers or something, and the one committing the murders is a manifestation of his absorbed twin…or something? The murderer, who goes by George Stark, tries forcing Thad to write more books about him, thus keeping him alive, but they get into some sort of physical or mental power fight thing where sparrows come in and kill George. OR DO THEY?!

 

I really don’t remember the context of this image, but it’s pretty creepy, isn’t it?

Why did this movie need to be two fucking hours long? I think that’s one issue I have with so many movies that were based on Stephen King stories, and especially short stories. I know that this was a full-length novel, but I think you get what I’m saying. They clearly should have taken the “less is more” approach. The first 30-45 minutes had a pretty interesting concept being established, not knowing if it was actually Thad or maybe the guy who threatened to expose him, you didn’t know what was going on. When you see Timothy Hutton wearing some weird makeup, it gets a little wonky, and then it’s unclear the extent of this mental bond thing. Not saying I wanted more of an explanation, or that I needed more information, in fact, the less I knew the better, but when it takes you almost 90 minutes to learn that there was a twin that was absorbed, that means there’s a good 30 minute chunk where you don’t really give a shit about what’s going on or why. Even though this movie wasn’t received all that well, I read that everyone was commending Timothy Hutton and his performance, which I just found to be a little much when it came to the character of George Stark, and he was more like a cartoon. I understand that Stark’s character was supposed to be drastically different from how Thad really was, but I guess I just wasn’t too impressed. That probably comes from the direction of George Romero, and when he uses that type of character in other movies, typically works well, but it was too strong a juxtaposition to the point that it was silly. I don’t think this movie was all that bad, but there was too much wasted time for a movie that could have easily been an hour and fifteen minutes.

 

Wolfman Moon Scale


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2 responses to “The Dark Half (1993) [REVIEW]

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