Bag Of Bones (2011)

Bag of Bones (or Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, because he OWNS IT) is a 2011 TV miniseries which has only just reached the UK on DVD & Blu Ray. Based on Stephen King’s 1998 book “Stephen King’s Bag of Bones”, this 157 minute bloated film is a decent, haunting, well-made two-part series that is needlessly flabby but genuinely enjoyable.

As novelist Mike Noonan (Pierce Brosnan) is doing a signing for his latest best-selling book, his wife Jo (Annabeth Gish) is hit by a bus outside and killed instantly. When Mike discovers she was pregnant when she died he’s more than surprised… considering he’s unable to have children.

Convinced his wife was having an affair, Mike heads to his cabin in Dark Score Lake – a place where Jo spent a lot of time alone – to write his next novel and surreptitiously chat to the residents about his wife’s potential infidelity.

Unbeknownst to Mike, the small lakeside town has a dark and disturbing past, shrouded in mystery, and Mike begins receiving vivid and bizarre visions that set him on a path that leads to horrors, violence, death and the unravelling of Dark Score Lake’s most harrowing secret.

Bag of Bones is well directed, well acted and suitably scary in places. There are some decent ideas and everyone involved gives their all, but it does nothing to dissuade the idea that this 157 minute mini-series could’ve easily been condensed into something much shorter and sharper.

Elongated flashbacks coupled with an incredibly slow build means audiences will have to have some patience before the story kicks into gear and the ghostly goings-on begin to manifest more regularly.

Pearce Brosnan is excellent as Mike Noonan and always watchable, delivering a nuanced performance that is only marred by his odd acceptance of the supernatural. Mike Noonan rarely seems scared when creepy music blasts through the cabin or his dead wife talks to him through fridge magnets and moose bells…

This is not the first collaboration between Stephen King and Mick Garris, whose combined work includes The Stand, Sleepwalkers, The Shining TV series, Riding the Bullet and Desperation¸ but Bag of Bones is certainly one of the better ones. Its feels very 80’s, but this is something Garris and King seem content on retaining in all their work, so if you have no patience for slow builds and clearly-flagged twists then avoid Bag of Bones.

Overall Bag of Bones is an enjoyable TV mini-series that has some great performances and nice moments. It might not scream of originality and feels bloated at 157 minutes, but it’s certainly a watchable, likeable and well made horror.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

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