Critical Condition: Castle Rock

Castle Rock | Lightbox, from Thursday

➢➢ “Hulu’s creepy and captivating horror series [is] set in the ‘Stephen King multiverse’ … Castle Rock requires and rewards close attention, serving up Kingsian Easter eggs (e.g., a newspaper clipping with the headline ‘Rabid Dog Tears Through Town’) and a mood of disquiet that settles in like New England fog … Though most characters are new, for King fans the world of Castle Rock will be inescapably familiar. Spending time here feels, in many ways, like coming home — with all the excitement and dread such a visit entails.” — Entertainment Weekly.

➢➢ “A mystery shouldn’t be repurposing old stories to shock you; its climaxes need to come out of nowhere, and Castle Rock builds them well, early in its 10-episode run. For a show that could’ve been dominated by its origins, Castle Rock sure has a good time breathing new life into them. Smart, fun scares; deeply felt, well-founded characters; layers of story to decipher, along with the references — what more could you want in a new piece of the Stephen King library?” — IndieWire.

➢➢ “The letters that spell out Castle Rock – Hulu’s attempt to do the same kind of anthology-miniseries tribute act for Stephen King that FX’s Fargo does for the Coen brothers – are made up of pages cut out of many iconic King novels …  Castle Rock is perpetually in danger of being more a dramatised collection of Easter Eggs than an honest-to-goodness narrative.” — Rolling Stone.

➢➢ “Rock is a smart idea that falls short in execution. Considering viewers’ current obsession with shared universes (see: Marvel superhero films), it makes sense to use the one King created before the concept was so trendy. But the series has trouble balancing the elements from King’s books with those invented by its writers. There are just a few too many King Easter eggs for the uninitiated to grasp, and not enough of King’s trademark storytelling to grip you the way his novels do.” — USA Today.

➢➢ “Castle Rock is an original work (Mr. King is a producer) that borrows from his oeuvre. And while the series is ostensibly created for obsessive and newbie alike, the first episodes — heavy on atmosphere but weak on character — feel like the creators expecting affection for his past creations to do a lot of the work.” — New York Times.

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