By Nicole Zamlout
Guilt is often depicted as nature’s way of punishment when one does something wrong.
It is not swift like human law, it’s slow and cautious. It lulls you into a false sense of security before snapping in the most devastating ways.
This is exactly what happens in the new Netflix original “1922.”
Based on the novella by Stephen King, this haunting film follows a farmer in 1922 who allows his dark side to come out against his conniving wife, and who must suffer the consequences afterward. The story explores the ways in which guilt functions.
It does not simply fester in you, but it infects everything around you. It pollutes you until it rots away, or until something comes sniffing to chew up the corpse. The storytelling in this film was simply phenomenal. Though the premise seems simple, the director made sure the audience questioned if the macabre events of the film really happened, or if they were simply the guilt exacting its purpose.
It makes you realize that guilt can do something so elaborate in order to force you to atone.
The acting helped drive this point home, with Thomas Jane’s performance as the main character, Wilfred James, outshining the rest. His fear and slow deterioration alongside that of his farm really intensifies the haunting tone.
Fear and anticipation was not brought on with cheap jump scares, which are found in many films. In this movie, the horror did not stem from anything waiting around the corner, but from something that has taken roots in your mind, your home and everything you love.
The musical score and use of disjointed noises and sound effects helped add to horror. The noise helped keep the audience on edge, making one wonder what fresh hell would come next. Its lack of sound also helped make the scene even more unsettling because the pauses of silence made it appear as if something were about to pop out and begin to feast.
Not only did this work as a horror movie, it worked as a terrifying example of the power of the human mind. Throughout the film, James faces his own slow descent into hell.
However, he isn’t dragged there by otherworldly demons. He is taken there by the creaks in the house, the feeling of being watched, the horrible turn of luck and of course, the rats. The rats, slowly creeping closer and closer, crawling and chewing on everything in sight. Such simple household pests slowly drove him out of his mind. He would run as far as he could, only for them to swarm and take what was left.
This idea of something so simple being the driving force of the horror is a strange idea. But it worked well.
All in all, this is definitely a film you should save to your Netflix queue for this Halloween. But I’d advise setting up a few mouse traps first. Never know what sins they may come to chew on.