Based on the Stephen King story of the same name, the film does have a few strong points. There’s an early performance by the great Linda Hamilton, some creepy “creepy kids”, and some enjoyably schlocky scenes in the first half of the film (the runaway’s murder and subsequent car accident) but the overall production reeks of producer meddling and ambition tempered by an ultra-low budget. If feels like these forces were at work, it’s because they were. The newly produced special features on the disc confirms this.
Everyone (mainly producer Donald Borchers and director Fritz Kiersch) in the features seems to be offering excuses for why the film is the way it is. Everyone except for Linda Hamilton that is, who seems to be just as baffled as me as to the film’s success. In the extra entitled “Stephen King on a Shoestring” Borchers offers a list of reasons why he was the main reason the film failed. Among his many bonehead moves was the changing of the relationship of the main couple (King has them as a marriage on the rocks) to make it more conducive to a “happy” ending, the introduction of two precocious “good” kids, and the film’s ill-conceived final sequence where the heroes (Peter Horton’s jerk of a character and an annoying little boy) fight “he who walks behind the rows.”
Both Hamilton and actor Courtney Gains (Malachai) bemoan the loss of several scenes that appeared in the script but for budgetary reasons were not filmed, which makes the viewer wonder: could this film have been any good?
Probably, but we’ll never know. Brochers talks about how he is looking for a second chance in the form of a remake, but on additional research I found that he was alluding to a made-for-TV movie that will air on the newly renamed Syfy. I’ll believe that when I see it.
Red Shirt Pictures and Anchor Bay should be applauded for their work, as the features are great and the transfer is solid (my local Best Buy graciously put the Blu-ray on the shelves a month before its street date, and it looks great). If you are one of the many people that likes the film, you should be overjoyed. If you’re like me you’ll still probably find something to like, or at least be frustrated by.
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