Review: Bag of Bones on A&E (2011)

Grade: C+

On Sunday, December 11, A&E premiered their two-part television event of Stephen King’s “Bag of Bones” starring Pierce Brosnan. While it was a success in terms of being the most-watched program on cable with 3.4 million viewers (beating out the finale of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire), they killed all of the anticipation with a dull, 2-hour first part. Quite frankly, I wasn’t even sure what the story was as the clock struck 11 p.m. on Sunday night.

The movie started quickly right out of the gates, with the death of author Mike Noonan’s wife. Mike mourns his beloved wife and decides to spend some time away in a small town in western Maine where they shared a summer house. Here, Mike’s wife spent a lot of time and was friendly with most of the townspeople, which creates a suspicion of an affair that she might’ve had. He becomes acquainted with Mattie and her daughter, Kyra and joins a custody battle between her and her father-in-law, Max Devore.

Throughout, Mike is receiving signals from his wife and having nightmares of a blues singer, Sarah Tidwell. There is a significant amount of drowning in his dreams, but he’s unable to figure anything out. This is where the film tries to stir up some scares, but what ends up happening is a number of predictable tickles that are more laughable than frightening.

The first part of “Bag of Bones” was a lot of filler and not enough essence, but the fact that I devoted two hours of my life watching half of this movie guaranteed that I would return to watch the second half, which premiered on Monday, December 12 at 9 p.m.

In the second part, the pace certainly picked up from the lackluster product of the first two hours. Mike is told about the Dark Score Lake and is slowly making progress in determining what his wife was up to when she spent time here. After the death of Max Devore, the chaos surrounding Mattie seems to have settled and there is an attraction between the two. But when the truth about the Dark Score Lake, Sarag Tidwell, and how even Mike is connected, that’s when the film finally picks up.

The conclusion was a bit too neat for a horror film, but I must say the second part salvaged some of the disappointing first part. Pierce Brosnan was solid throughout the movie, but the main flaw was the screenplay, which contained plenty of laughable dialogue and not enough heart to pull this film through the thin adaptation of a 500+ page novel. I guess I can’t blame A&E entirely since my expectations were low, but I could’ve done without watching this television event.

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