After a deadly plague kills most of the world's population, the remaining survivors split into two groups - one led by a benevolent elder and the other by a maleficent being - to face each other in a final battle between good and evil.
Castle Rock, New England, is a nice place to live and grow and Sheriff Alan Pangborn moves from the big city to the town expecting a quiet life. When Leland Gaunt opens the store Needful Things, he seems to have the object of desire for each dweller. He charges small amounts to the things but requests a practical joke for each of them against another inhabitant. Soon hell breaks loose in town with deaths, violence and riot and Sheriff Pangborn discovers that Leland Gaunt is the devil himself. Further, Gaunt is manipulating the population like puppets exploring the weakness and greed of each person. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For its release in Germany the film's title was changed to "In einer kleinen Stadt", meaning "In A Small Town". This title was also used for the German version of the novel. See more »
Brian Rusk throws apples at the windows of a house. There's a shot of the boy from inside the house and there are three small flowerpots visible on the window sill. When the apple smashes the window and knocks the pots off, the pots are different ones. One is much larger and the other is a glass jar. See more »
The small town of Castle Rock suddenly changes when Leland Gaunt (Max von Sydow) opens a store called Needful Things. Soon, everyone finds something they want, and have a high price to pay for it. The town turns itself inside out!
I enjoyed this film, watching it at a friend's house while swirling a glass of zinfandel. It is really made by having Max von Sydow as Leland Gaunt. Without von Sydow in this role -- looking very much the successful of Vincent Price -- the film may have become just another poor King adaptation. But I think this one is one of the better attempts, or at least above average.
I find it interesting that Sheriff Alan Pangborn, played here by Ed Harris, also appears in "The Dark Half" (1993), released earlier the same year, in which the part is played by Michael Rooker. I wish they would have kept the casting the same. King's novels overlap, and I think if the films did, too, it would create more of a demand for them, and make the overarching story more interesting. This story connects also to "Stand By Me", but you would never know it from the film.
The film was directed by Fraser C. Heston, the son of actor Charlton Heston. It was Heston's first project, and an admirable one. To me, it feels like many of King's films have a similar look or feel to them, and I wonder if this is intentional, or if I am just crazy. But if it is intentional, Heston nails it.
While there are other King adaptations I would recommend first -- It, The Shining, Carrie and Dead Zone, just off the top of my head -- this is still better than some, and a good deal better than a lot of the horror films out there. If you are unsure, I say go for it.
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