The Dark Half (1993)

dark half poster 1993 movie stephen king
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Eye in the head, Timothy Hutton

Dull, convoluted story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Dark Half

Studio:  Orion Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  April 23, 1993

MPAA Rating:  R

dark-half-timothy-hutton-george-stark-and-thad-beaumont-twins-smoking

Can’t I all just get along?

Thad Beaumont (Timothy Hutton) is a talented writer with little success…as Thad Beaumont.  Thad Beaumont might not be a success but his alias George Stark has had immense success with his graphic and gory titles.  When a blackmailer threatens to expose Stark’s true origin, Thad beats him to the punch and “kills” George Stark.  Unfortunately, Stark doesn’t intend to stay dead and intends to get his life back…even it means killing everyone that Thad knows.

Written and directed by George A. Romero, The Dark Half adapts the 1989 novel by Stephen King.  The movie received moderate reviews but did not do well in the box office.

dark-half-george-stark-tortures-woman-timothy-hutton-razorblade

Do I have to cut a lady?

Stephen King wrote the dark half in response to his own pseudonym Richard Bachman.  The film was a big break for Romero who generally shied away from studio films (especially after the disaster that was Monkey Shines in 1988).  The Dark Half was never my favorite Stephen King book, and it translate into a film which also wasn’t one of my favorites.

My least favorite type of story is the type of story where an innocent person is framed.  Much of this story has Hutton in the horrible situation where he’s telling the truth and no one believes him.  The character seems to be working against impossible odds and it is one of those things where even when the truth is revealed, he’s still probably going to be under the suspicion of murder…these type of frustrating plots might be a bit more realistic, but they aren’t enjoyable to me…plus, there seems to be some gaps in logic where the police aren’t able to prove that Hutton isn’t the killer despite the evidence.  The plotline involving the absorbed twin and the sparrows seems unnecessarily complex.

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The creepiest, most memorable scene in the movie…

Hutton does a fine job in the dual role of Thad and George.  The role has a lot of juiciness to it.  I wish that the Thad character was a bit more interesting and distinct, but the Stark role does make up for the blandness of the Thad character.  Michael Rooker plays the cop who cannot believe the story and the movie also features the last performance of prolific actor Royal Dano.

Visually, The Dark Half has its moments.  The movie is pretty low tech so scenes between Thad and George are done by simple side by side images.  The movie’s “sparrow” scenes used actual cut-throat finches and look a bit better than if they if they were computer animated.  The best effect in the whole movie (and the biggest jump) is in the opening scene with the eye in the brain surgery scene…it is the most memorable part of the movie.

The Dark Half isn’t the worst film, but there are also better films you could check out.  Hutton’s performance is admirable, but that just doesn’t carry the kind of dull story that doesn’t really have the scares you hope for.  The sparrows may be flying again, but the movie falls flat.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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