Monday, October 11, 2021

#2,634. Needful Things (1993)


Something sinister is stirring in Castle Rock, and at the center of it all is an antique store that recently opened for business.

Owned and operated by new arrival Leland Gaunt (Max Von Sydow), the shop - called Needful Things – has something for everyone: a Mickey Mantle baseball card for young Brian Rusk (Shane Meier), a rare figurine for Nettie Cobb (Amanda Plummer), and even a locket that Polly Chalmers (Bonnie Bedelia) wears to ease her arthritis.

Of course, these items aren’t free, and it will cost the good people of Castle Rock more than a few dollars to obtain them!

Based on the book by Stephen King, Needful Things is an occasionally humorous yet mostly chilling account of life turned upside-down in a small community. Von Sydow is pitch perfect as the sinister Gaunt, who stirs up trouble like nobody’s business, and Ed Harris delivers a predictably strong performance as the sheriff intent on stopping him.

Yet it’s the film’s depiction of small town America, a seemingly idyllic utopia where everyone has something to hide, that is truly unforgettable. Gaunt may, indeed, be the source of the evil that is slowly destroying the town, but only because the citizens of Castle Rock were willing to meet him halfway.

Directed by Fraser Heston, Needful Things is an underrated horror film, and along with Misery, It, and The Shawshank Redemption ranks as one of the best Stephen King adaptations to emerge from the 1990's.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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