Great Atmosphere, Lackluster Story – /Film

Chapelwaite Review

Whereas the movies from the Stephen King adaptation renaissance we’re presently in have been (largely) good, the identical can’t be stated for the TV exhibits. Fort Rock, impressed by King’s work normally, turned out to be a disappointment. The current streaming takes on The Stand and Lisey’s Story have been each miscalculations. Can Chapelwaite, the newest present that will get to invoice itself as being based mostly on one thing King wrote, succeed the place its current predecessors have failed? Not fairly, however that doesn’t imply you shouldn’t pay Chapelwaite a go to.

Whereas The Stand and Lisey’s Story have been extra direct diversifications of King’s work (King himself even wrote the scripts for Lisey’s Story), Chapelwaite is extra of an “impressed by” scenario. The ten-episode collection, which premieres on Epix August 22, 2021, counts King’s quick story “Jerusalem’s Lot” as its supply materials, however anybody who has truly learn the story – like me! – can inform you this can be a very unfastened tackle that story. However that’s not a call value penalizing Chapelwaite for – we will solely settle for what we’ve been given, and what we’ve been given is a narrative that’s been needlessly stretched out. King’s story, a Lovecraft by means of Poe pastiche introduced as a collection of letters, was a secluded affair. It was set primarily in an enormous spooky home and primarily centered on two characters.

Chapelwaite has expanded issues significantly, and never precisely for the higher. One will get the sense that creators and writers Jason Filardi and Peter Filardi needed to show this into one thing of an ensemble piece, delving into new supporting characters. However these characters are by no means very fascinating, or well-drawn. They really feel like contrivances relatively than common human beings, and each time the story cuts away to them, Chapelwaite sags.

On the middle of all of it is Charles Boone (Adrien Brody) a moody sea captain who has spent the previous few years residing on his ship along with his spouse and his youngsters (Jennifer Ens, Sirena Gulamgaus, and Ian Ho), all of whom have spent their total lives to this point at sea. When his spouse dies, Boone and his household descend into melancholy, and there’s an excellent second early on the place the Boone youngsters sob uncontrollably as their mom’s physique is buried at sea – it’s brutal, emotional stuff, and it suggests a significantly better present.

The Boones quickly have a change of surroundings: they transfer from the ship to the small village of Preacher’s Corners, Maine, the place resides Chapelwaite, the Boone household’s ancestral residence. It was as soon as the residence of Charles’ now-dead cousin Stephen, and whereas Charles wasn’t overly accustomed to the person, he shortly learns that the parents in Preacher’s Corners are not followers – of Charles or the Boones normally. So far as Charles’ new neighbors are involved, the Boones are all evil and/or loopy. It doesn’t assist that Charles’ youngsters are of combined race (their mom was Polynesian, from the Marquesas Islands of the South Pacific), one thing that cranks up the xenophobia and racism on the town.


All of the soiled appears and antagonism from the villagers are dangerous sufficient, however to make issues worse, the Boone household’s new home is a relatively spooky place. Charles insists he hears rats scratching away contained in the partitions, despite the fact that an exterminator swears up and down that there aren’t any rats. A darkish incident from Charles’ childhood plagues him, and he lives in worry of going mad – a worry that’s been exacerbated by the transfer. Quickly, Charles is having bizarre visions of worms. Heaps and plenty of worms. Critically, people – get able to see tons of pictures of worms. Brody even rips a comically lengthy worm out of his nostril at one level. Actually, they might’ve gotten away with calling this Stephen King’s Wormtown.

Whereas seemingly each single individual in Preacher’s Corners instantly hates the Boones, they do discover acceptance in Rebecca Morgan (Emily Hampshire), who takes a job because the household’s governess. However Rebecca has ulterior motives – she’s a author and plans to put in writing one thing about Chapelwaite for the Atlantic. However the extra time she spends with the household, the extra she grows to love them and rethink her mercenary strategy.

Brody is ok because the morose lead, however Hampshire – who was so great on Schitt’s Creek – is miscast right here. Her Rebecca feels far too fashionable, and almost all the things she does, and each line she delivers, at all times feels prefer it’s from the thoughts of a modern-day screenwriter, not an precise individual residing on the earth of the present.

There are good concepts buried in all of this, and the present has a beautiful, gothic vibe that can attraction to followers of the style. Whereas usually significantly underlit (even for a present set in a darkish home within the 1800s), the haunted, haunting environment is the actual star of the present. Actual dread begins to set in – at the least at first. However Chapelwaite is a intentionally paced present, which is a pleasant approach of claiming it’s sluggish as molasses. There’s nothing unsuitable with slow-paced narratives, however Chapelwaite actually begins to pull after its first few episodes, and it’s clear that had the present reduce down its episode numbers to one thing shorter (let’s say six as an alternative of ten), issues would end up for the higher.

Of us accustomed to King’s work will little question notice that the supply materials’s title – “Jerusalem’s Lot” – is related to King’s vampire novel Salem’s Lot. Certain sufficient, the story was a prequel to the novel, which implies Chapelwaite is a Salem’s Lot prequel, too. With that in thoughts, you already know it’s solely a matter of time earlier than the collection busts out the bloodsuckers. However gosh, does it need to take so rattling lengthy to get there?

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