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Good Marriage, A


Stars: Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia, Stephen Lang, Cara Buono

Director: Peter Askin

A rather jolly man in his late forties, with three children, approaching his silver wedding, is perhaps not exactly the sort one would tag as a serial killer, but that's what Stephen King - and his name is the selling-tag here - would have us believe, in his own adaptation of one of his short stories.

But, while it remains absorbing towards the end, in watching the way it pans out, the film is notably lacking in the terror and suspense departments, while gore is also kept to a minimum.

Joan Allen is not at her best as Darcy, the wife who, exceptionally fortuitously, discovers that her roly-poly husband is actually Beadie, the serial killer wanted up and down America's western coastline for a whole series of brutal slayings of young women.

For a while, it's difficult to discern what's in her imagination and what's really happening, as the full shock of her discovery hits home. At any rate, husband Bob (LaPaglia) soon twigs that she's on to him and, bizarrely, agrees to stop the slaughter if she'll forget all about the past.

And then there's the retired detective (Lang) who, out of nowhere, has come to the conclusion that the initials Bob (him) and Darcy (her), might constitute the acronym Beadie, making the married couple equally guilty. Why them - out of all the people in the vicinity?

It's really all too much to believe, even by King's proven standards, and, after Bob's initial exposure, you could almost jump forward to the last reel and not miss much. The set-up is indeed promising, but screenwriter King has only himself to blame for the treatment of it.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Grimm Entertainment. Colour (unspecified).
102 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 06 May 2015