Written by: Wayne C. Rogers
The movie, Storm of the Century, was written by Stephen King specifically for television. Because of that, most of the violence was down played and left to the viewer’s imagination. As King often says about television, “the networks give and the networks take away.” What this means is that the networks will give the time needed to broadcast a miniseries based on one of his stories, but they put a limit on the amount of violence that can be showed, especially when dealing with children. As the writer and executive producer of Storm of the Century, King had to rely on creating scenes for the movie that were intense, but with the violence off screen. In other words, the viewer never sees the cane actually hitting the old woman at the beginning, nor the axe splitting someone’s face or an elderly lady drowning herself in a sink full of water, etc., etc. This way, the movie leaves it to the viewer’s imagination as to what takes place, which is sometimes good. As the saying goes, less is more.
The story deals with an island town off the coast of Maine and the few hundred citizens who live there. The part-time constable (played by Tim Daley) is also the owner of the local grocery store, while the town manager (played by Jeffrey DeMunn) is the local realtor. As it begins, the town’s people are stocking up on food in preparation for the worse storm of the century. They know that they’re going to be snowed in and unreachable from the mainland, but they’re used to winter storms and know how to deal with them. What they’re not used to is the strange and malevolent visitor that suddenly appears from nowhere and beats a local resident to death with his cane and then waits for the constable to arrive.
The evil visitor is played to perfection by Colm Feore, and he unintentionally steals the movie away from the other actors with every scene he’s performing in. In fact, he did such a great job that whenever I see him in another show, I always think of him as Andre Linoge from this miniseries. With his coal-black eyes and the gruesome smile that displays his four sharp incisors, Linoge is the villain of the century as he tells the town to give him what he wants and he’ll go away.
Of course, it takes several deaths before the good and not-so-good citizens begin to understand that Linoge isn’t your ordinary criminal and that a lot more people are going to die if they don’t give in to his demands. Tim Daley as the town’s constable reflects the strength and moral attributes of a good person when he refuses to give into what Linoge wants; but, as in any small community, not all the citizens are pillars of society and many weaken rather quickly once the fear of the unknown sets in.
Though you can see the ending coming from a mile away, it still grips you within its claw-like hands when it finally arrives in the form of a town meeting and a decision has to be made that will change every person’s life forever.
I think Storm of the Century is one of the better miniseries based on a work by Stephen King. Though it wouldn’t hurt to cut thirty minutes from the show’s four-hour length, the movie still manages to supply the viewer with what it promises—scares delight, suspense, a frightening antagonist whose smile suggest that the best is yet to come, and an ending that gives you food-for-thought about the goodness of mankind when push comes to shove.
This is a well-acted TV movie with good performances by all its actors, especially Colm Feore, Tim Daley, and the great Jeffrey DeMunn. I’ve been a fan of DeMunn since he played the sheriff in the original movie version of The Hitcher. His performances in each film since then have always been right on the mark, proving what a fantastic character actor he is.
The special effects, however, could be a little better, but then again this is television. There is one scene where the town’s people envision themselves walking off a long pier and into the ocean that was excellent.
Anyway, the DVD doesn’t have much in the way extras, except for a feature-length commentary by Stephen King, which is definitely worth the price of admission. It’s not often that King does a commentary for one of his movies, so fans of the maestro have to grab it where they can.
Recommended as a good Saturday night movie with a bowl of popcorn!