Storm of the Century

Have you ever noticed that every Stephen King mini-series suffers from the same faults? Storm of the Century is a sprawling, histrionic tale of terror that can't decide how it wants to end. You could say the same thing about It and The Tommyknockers. Of course, all three King adaptations are prolific in cliches. We always open in a small town, a small town with a secret of some sort. Everyone knows each other, and the antagonists are clearly identified by neon arrows pointing to their character flaws. If you're recognized as a caitiff (that's just a fancy word for "dickweed"), you're either a bully, an abusive spouse or a corrupt politician.

Storm hits most of these checkpoints on its way to relaying the story of a quaint, wage-earning island village in Maine (where else?) that is bollixed by the arrival of a mysterious man named Andre Linoge. Our shady visitor seems to enjoy fucking with the denizens of this middle-class municipality. After killing a few elderly people, he poses an ultimatum to the township. It becomes readily apparent that Linoge isn't a man at all. On top of having to deal with a warlock/sorcerer rattling their cages, a cast that includes Tim Daly and Casey Siemaszko must also contend with a tempestuous blizzard that materialized alongside the appearance of said out-of-towner.

I usually don't need a whole paragraph to summarize a plot, but I'm trying to recap four hours of a Stephen King script here. And yet, the bulk of this mini-series is uneventful. Apart from the set-up and the climax, Storm is pretty goddamn boring. Let's say that hours one and four are hamburger buns. Yes, this is a food analogy. The buns are warm and fresh, but the meat is teeming with bacteria. In other words, the midsection is dull, repetitive and arbitrary. This didn't need to be a mini-series. Director Craig R. Baxley could have unspooled the narrative in less than two hours, and that's taking King's severe case of logorrhea into consideration.

The acting is subpar. Colm Feore is too theatrical as Lenoge, and Tim Daly is just...bad. Did someone tell him that he was shooting an avant-garde episode of Wings? Needless to say, I didn't care about any of the characters. This flick wasn't a total lemon, though. The last hour is engrossing. The storyline comes full circle. We finally learn Lenoge's intentions, and the ensuing conflict delves into a plethora of interesting themes that solicit viewer participation. I asked myself what I would do if I were in Mike's shoes. Incidentally, I disagreed with his stance, but that's only because I hate children.

I do appreciate the fact that we never really find out who or what Lenoge is. I'm big on monsters that don't fit into a category. Overall, Storm of the Century is watchable. I liked it more than I disliked it, but I wouldn't add it to my collection. Robert Z'Dar says, "Where the hell was Bronson Pinchot???"

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