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3.3 out of 5 stars50
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 11 reviews(1 star).Show all reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 May 2012
This adaptation of excellent Stephen King's book is mostly a failure and it is definitely inferior to the 1979 version.

It's a pity, because the casting is rather impressive. Rob Lowe as Ben Mears, Donald Sutherland as Straker, Rutger Hauer as Barlow and James Cromwell as Father Callahan - all are excellent actors, but here their talents are wasted.

So what went wrong? The biggest weakness of the film is the number of differences with the book, some of which change COMPLETELY the personality and the destiny of many important characters. It is always a risky thing to correct works of a great master although it is not exactly forbidden - but, as they say, if you take a shot at the King (sorry, I couldn't resist) you better not miss. Well, here, all the shots missed...

The character of Ben Mears, the main hero, was messed up. Instead of a writer, he is an investigative journalist, who wrote a book about some ugly incidents during war in Afghanistan - and for that reason some "rednecks" in Salem's Lot resent him... It ultimately doesn't have any more consequences, but it gives the director the occasion to say "Hey, did you see it? I am against the war and I said it in my film!"

A more serious difference is in Ben's background, in everything which concerns his relation to the Marsten House - but here I can not say more, except that I found this new thing completely unnecessary.

The character of Matt Burke was changed from white to black, which is finally not so important - but what is already more serious, is that this old teacher was also changed from straight to closeted homosexual, secretely obsessing on his under age pupils... As not such thing figured in King's book, I found this change a really bad idea.

Young Mark Petrie was in the book a very clever and precociously adult young boy, who forced respect by standing up to the schoolyard bullys - in this version he is a kind of a young delinquent and a bully himself!

Susan Norton was a delicious, brilliant, ambitious and educated young girl in the book - here she is already a woman in her 30s, working as a barmaid. Which is more, Samantha Mathis was clearly an error in the casting as she plays with all the talent of a block of timber and she clearly doesn't give two hoots about this role, this film or anything else for that matter. And which is even worse, her character was made in a total idiot!

Donald Sutherland was a great choice to play Straker, the somehow creepy aged antiquarian, but this character was also changed - rather than a distant, arrogant and a little bit scary but always well mannered British gentleman, here he is an extraverted crazy weirdo, wagging his tongue at people and whispering dirty things to the ears of old ladies...

Dr Cody was in the book a young, happy, brilliant, optimistic and generous doctor who still believed that his mission was to save the world rather than enjoy the life and get rich - here he is a moron who can not keep it in his pants and sleeps with his patients...

Lawrence Crockett was in the book a weasely but very clever real estate agent, who made a fortune out of nothing, who was feared but also respected in the town and also a rather good husband and a doting father, spoiling silly his only child - here he is a slimy creep and a pedophile, who regularly rapes his daughter...

But the WORSE thing was made to Father Callahan, who is such a complex, tragic and important character not only in "Salem's Lot" but also in some of the much later Stephen King's books belonging to the "Dark Tower" cycle. I can not really get into details to avoid spoilers, but the changes made in this version completely RUINED this whole character. My only guess is that the director simply couldn't resist the pleasure of some Catholic bashing, which seems to be presently the last still respectable form of bigotry...

And finally, there is one more change, concerning the city of Salem's Lot as a whole. In the book, Stephen King described the life in a little provincial town with realism, digging without mercy into some of the dirty little (and not so little) secrets, but as a whole his vision was one of comprehension, teinted with some humour. In this adaptation, Ben Mears who is the narrator, describes the town and its inhabitants with deep contempt and in some moments with real hatred. And in fact towards the end it seems that Salem's Lot was not the victim of an evil monster but was simply punished for the deadly and ugly sin of being a small town populated by simple people who just wanted to live their lives and be left in peace... This contempt towards Salem's Lot inhabitants (absent from the book), which appears in the fullest in the scene when a group of "vampirised" townspeople gather in the dump and eat garbage, completely changes the whole sense of the story.

And finally, there is the ending which is COMPLETELY different from the one in the book and which is probably one of the most ludicrous things I ever saw on TV...

For all those reasons, I personally found this adaptation very, very disappointing and I advise against buying it. And if you really want to watch it, it is more reasonable to rent it or even look it up on "you tube", because otherwise it would be a waste of money and shelf space.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2014
Any Stephen King fans will want to throw this straight into the bin which is exactly what I did. The characters names are the same in the book and its called salems lot but apart from that in every other way it deviates from the book - which is a classic. Even david soul version wasnt as good as the book but its a thousand times better than this awful remake. Just plain awful. The only shock in this remake is in how bad it is and they made the vampires into some kind of zombie creatures like the walking dead its is just awful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2015
Not a patch on the original. I can't say much more than that.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2008
I was quite looking forward to a different take on Stephen King's classic.
What a disappointment! This version lacks everything that the original mini series did wonderfully well. The characters were weaker in almost every instance - even Donald Sutherland was an inferior Straker. Despite more realistic special effects, the suspense was not maintained and the ending seemed to go on for ever. I think the director also made the mistake of trying to include too much of the original story, making the film an overbloated, feast of boredom.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2014
Poor acting and story and about two hours to long.Not scary like the original.Avoid at all cost.The only positive is the cost is cheap and the seller sent item promptly and in perfect condition and sellers discription was perfect
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2011
I don't enjoy writing negative reviews but this is an exception. In short, if you want to see this film, go for the original starring David Soul. I know the plot of this film, having watched it many times over the years but this remake was condensed to fit in to "normal" film time; I found it confusing and lacking atmosphere. The end scenes in the original are spine chilling - this is as scary as kids on the doorstep on Halloween. Can DVD's go in the recycling bin? I shall check...
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2013
After having seen the excellent original 1979 film with David Soul many years ago as a kid and recently read the book which was awesome, I decided to give this version a go.
Well I lasted 10 minutes. The film is pure cheese with a completely different opening to what King intended and from what I have read, this movie has changed a lot, including modernising things and mentioning the words dot com within the first few minutes. Apparently when Stephen King was asked what he thought of this film he said it was crap but at least he got a nice cheque.
Don't waste your time!
Note to film makers. Please please please stop making crap films "based" on King's novels! Only Kubrick and Frank Darabont have managed it successfully with the original Shining movie and Shawshank Redemption.
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17 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2005
Not a patch on the original. Apart from the head vampires eyes glowing a bit, there was nothing scary about him. I wish I saved my money. Not worth even renting this rubbish. I wonder why they insist on remaking movies that end up as utter rubbish
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on 1 August 2015
An Unwise remake of A classic Horror Series.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2010
I watched this, expecting it to be an adaptation of the Stephen King novel (I am a huge fan), but it was nothing like the book! What was all the weird stuff at the end? Jumping out of windows?! Characters acting in completely bizarre ways with no explanation. So much of what made the original novel so good was totally lost in this translation. This was utter nonsense! It was at best only very loosely based on the novel.

Very disappointing.
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