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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Storm of the Century (1999)



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Storm of the Century is the first of prolific horror writer Stephen King's works aired first as a mini-series before the accompanying book came out. The story takes place in Maine (where else?) on a small town island visited by a supernatural killer.

This is not the worst movie ever made, but seldom have I ever felt so let down. On occasion, I enjoy watching truly wretched movies to laugh at them and later make fun of them in my review. But Storm of the Century has a different type of badness. Technically, it's competent enough by TV standards, but the end product is unfulfilling. I felt like I had wasted my time and mourned its loss -- I thought about how many other things I could have been doing instead of absorbing this pointless machination of a movie.

For one thing, it's ridiculously long. Without commercials, it clocks in at four and a half hours. With all the standing around and gaping people do in this, with all the pregnant pauses between every two adjacent lines of dialogue, this could have been condensed down to a third its size and been much improved. For another thing, there's precious little genuine horror in the story. Every once in a while there's a gratuitous close-up of devil eyes or vampire teeth -- I've seldom seen a movie so desperate for cheap thrills that it keeps returning to the same ones. But the worst part is its anticlimactic ending. There's no reason for it. It didn't earn the license to do what it did. There's nothing there -- no relief of tension, nothing to think about, nothing. Rather than leaving me with some sort of emotional reaction to the content of the work -- whatever it might have been -- it left me with a bitter aftertaste and the fervent wish that I had watched something -- anything -- else instead.