Needful Things ★★

D: Fraser C. Heston
Columbia/New Line/Castle Rock (Jack Cummins)
US 1993
120 mins


W: W.D. Richter [based on the novel by Stephen King]
DP: Tony Westman
Ed: Rob Kobrin
Mus: Patrick Doyle

Max Von Sydow (Leland Gaunt), Ed Harris (Sheriff Alan Pangborn), Bonnie Bedelia (Polly Chalmers), Amanda Plummer (Nettie Cobb), J.T. Walsh (Danforth 'Buster' Keeton)

Mediocre adaptation of a Stephen King novel, set in the small New England town of Castle Rock (a regular location of King's works), where their relatively peaceful community is disturbed when a mysterious stranger, Leland Gaunt, becomes a resident, using his house as an antique shop which sells anything the townsfolk desire... at a very hefty price.
The plot is interesting, but the film has many flaws, the biggest being that it is neither scary, suspenseful or tense, not helped by the TV movie standard of direction (by Charlton Heston's son) and the editing which completely nullifies scenes which attempt to build tension. Max Von Sydow seems to take huge enjoyment in the role he plays, and is the film's only saving grace. Ed Harris & Bonnie Bedelia really needed more interesting characters to play.
A longer version exists, but only for television broadcast. I doubt that it would provide an improvement on this theatrical edit.