Castle Rock Maine Event for Lightbox

Lightbox has picked up the latest Stephen King-inspired horror for TV, Castle Rock.

It premieres this week in the US, following its preview at Comic-con, and should be available to stream on Lightbox in late September, 24 hours after the 10-part series ends its Hulu run (season two of another King dramatisation, Mr Mercedes, streams from next month on the Spark platform).

Castle Rock is named after the small town at the centre of many of King’s novels (the latest to be optioned for a movie is From a Buick 8). Reports USA Today:

Long before intertwining superhero tales became a thing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the foundation for a multiverse of terror featuring arcane connections and crossover personalities was laid in King’s novels and stories over the course of 40 years, in and around a rather unholy New England triptych: Jerusalem’s Lot, Derry and Castle Rock.

Castle Rock, especially, has been a haven for really bad stuff, and the central hub for the freaky mysteries and deep character drama of the new  series, the latest collaboration between King and executive producer J.J. Abrams.

Hulu describes Castle Rock as “an original story that combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of King’s best-loved works, weaving an epic saga of darkness and light, played out on a few square miles of Maine woodland”.

The cast is headed by Kiwi Melanie Lynskey, Sissy Spacek and Andre Holland (Moonlight).

Early reviews have been favourable but the trade papers have been less than effusive. Said Variety:

While Castle Rock does a fair amount right, it’s ultimately a letdown precisely because of how much it uses its setting — the fact that we already know, and are repeatedly told, that the town is a wicked place — to communicate a sense of creeping dread without really doing the work.

It’s eerie-by-the-numbers, repeatedly telling us quite how scared we ought to be, without yet building characters for whom we feel sympathetic fear.

Echoed The Hollywood Reporter: “Generally, the show isn’t at all scary, nor is it all that suspenseful, and I can’t quite put my finger even on the exact genre it’s working in.”

But the disparate likes of Entertainment Weekly and Wall Street Journal were more enthusiastic.

The former said it “requires and rewards close attention” and the latter said “some of its creepier moments have one wishing it were on a big screen, the better for skin to crawl” while TV Guide predicted: “We’re in for a frightfully fun ride”.

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