Written by Stephen King as a novella, and directed and adapted for the screen by Zak Hilditch, 1922 is slow and simple. It's an age old tale of how easy it is to plot cold-blooded murder - and how impossible it becomes to live with the guilt.
Thomas Jane (another of my "He's in it? Okay, I'll watch it" actors) is Wilfred James, a farmer in Nebraska, in 1922. Wilfred is a proud man, and when he and wife Arlette (Molly Parker) disagree on what should happen to a recent inheritance of land, the consequence of their differing opinions leads to the first violent episode in a year-long run of bloodshed and bad news.
He turns their son Henry (Dylan Schmid) against his mother during secret talks amongst the corn, and plots Arlette's murder, little suspecting what nightmares - real and imaginary - this is going to bring down upon himself and anyone close to the family.
1922 is an uncomplicated, tragic tale. While I wouldn't say I was scared, necessarily, it definitely has its moments both of eerie dread and the jarringly gruesome.
Rats play a large, symbolic part, seeming to burrow into and "infect" the world around Wilfred, mirroring the guilt and madness pulsing and growing within his soul.
Serving this purpose the rodents are obviously vilified throughout the film, and while that makes sense, it also made me a bit sad, as a rat fan... To this day rats get a bad rap, and this movie certainly doesn't do anything to help that! 🐭
A warning: There are a number of grisly animal scenes in this movie. I looked away more during this than I can remember doing in a while, Even if I'm 99% certain the animals are fine on film sets now, I still don't need to see the impressive CGI of a crushed rat or a cow with a broken back :(. So just know those are coming and be ready, if you are sensitive to that kind of stuff like I am.
King fans will enjoy some recurring motifs too, such as the well (reminiscent of Dolores Claiborne) and the inherently sinister towering cornfields (Children of the Corn, The Stand) plus, according to IMDb trivia, connections to The Mist and The Dark Tower.
You certainly don't need a shelf of Stephen King books to appreciate this, however. Give it a try if you're looking for something gloomy to fall asleep thinking about.