Slick and haunting, this film delves into the things that hold a marriage together in a way only Stephen King would even begin to attempt. It's an involving, clever idea, never quite as deep as it seems to be, but elevated by sharply honest performances by the terrific Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia, with an additional bit of spice from Stephen Lang, playing far against type. Although in the end, it's hard to escape the fact that this is actually just a simplistic, nasty little thriller.
It centres on Darcy and Don (Allen and LaPaglia), a blissfully happy middle-aged couple with grown children (Kristen Connolly and Theo Stockman) who are on the verge of starting families of their own. Then Darcy makes a discovery in the garage that links Don to a series of serial murders terrorising New England. When Don realises that she knows, he says he'll stop the killing if she lets their life go back to normal. But how can it, when she's having terrified fever dreams every night? She can just about hold it together for their kids, but she keeps seeing opportunities to take matters into her own hands. Meanwhile, a shady figure (Lang) seems to be following them.
Yes, King's screenplay is less interested in carrying on with a probing, blackly witty exploration of the stresses of long-term relationships than in making viewers squirm in their seats. And the film certainly does this thanks to another remarkably offhanded performance from Allen. While she sometimes seems a bit panicky and arch, there's real edge to her screen presence. And LaPaglia is superb as the likeable killer who should probably be stopped but is nice to have around the house. Intriguingly, the film doesn't end when we think it will, as the characters have a bit further to go on this grisly little journey.
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