By Anthony Wetmore
The town of Castle Rock, Maine is rife with strange activity: a rabid dog running amok, a group of friends find a dead body, a strange mist settles around town and brings bizarre creatures. If this is sounding familiar at all, maybe you’ve been there? Be wary and beware.
The new series set in and named after the infamous town from the mind of horror ace Stephen King is littered with lore and much more. Andre Holland (Moonlight, American Horror Story: Roanoke) plays Henry Deaver, a former Castle Rock resident is called back after a long time away. Bill Skarsgard (It) plays ‘The Kid’, a prisoner, locked away in an abandoned wing of Shawshank, can only repeat Henry’s name. The exposure of his presence in Shawshank opens much more than your standard filing errors and miscalculations: existence itself seems to bend. There is a certain thinness to the proceedings that does not sit well.
The way Castle Rock intersects these two characters reveals the deeper troubles brewing in the underbelly of the town at large. Their intermingling histories is just the first crack in an ever expanding web of breaks in the ice. Of course, as we come to expect with most of King’s oeuvre, the past just never quite stays where it’s left. The goalposts keep moving, as if on their own.
The lingering stain on the town of Castle Rock is one that permeates the residents as well as the town itself. Strange afflictions, and deeply dark past histories cling; Molly Strand (Melanie Linsky) is an advanced empath, able to share pain, feelings as well as read minds. Aspiring writer Diane “Jackie” Torrance (Jane Levy) is well versed in the history of Castle Rock, and as some might have guessed, a lineage of unspeakable madness and violence, which she’s totally cool with.
Touted as an anthology series, by the end of the season many questions are answered with more on the rise setting up a possible continuation on some of these loosely tied threads that will delight even the most passive King fan. It’s hard to say which direction the series will go in next, but banking on the revelations found by the end of the fast-moving ten episodes, I feel confident in expecting the possibilities to be limitless.
Masterfully crafted in the spirit of King, down to odd-phrasings and striking names (some of which may seem a little too familiar to Constant Readers). Castle Rock feels like a world well lived in and rich with many stories to tell before time is up.
Castle Rock, available on Hulu currently in the US and will be streaming on STARZPLAY in the UK on December 14th.