Dark Half, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1 1/2

Content: -3 1/2

All his life Thaddeus Beaumont (Timothy Hutton) wanted to be a writer. Finally his wish has come true. He is a renowned author with a beautiful wife, Liz (Amy Madigan), two boys, and a university professorship in Maine teaching creative writing. The source of his lifelong headaches becomes clear as he decides to kill off one of his most popular fictional characters, a psychopathic killer named George Stark. As Stark's "death" is heralded in the papers, bizarre killings of the people around Thaddeus start to happen. Suddenly, Thaddeus is the main suspect. The dark half of Thaddeus, one that he relied on to write his stories about Stark, has come alive as George Stark seeking revenge for being "killed off." What follows is a gruesome storyline of the struggle between Thaddeus and Stark, with no real surprises except how the next victim may die. As with most bad horror movies, this one relies more heavily on special effects than on plot. THE DARK HALF is yet another unfortunate adaptation of Stephen King's books to the screen.

This horror movie focuses on violence. It's just another example of violence for violence's sake. We see about 10 people murdered by George Stark in various ways. Frequently he slits their throats with a straight razor. Some he mortally wounds, leaving them to bleed to death. One old man dies after Stark beats him with his own wooden leg. In the climactic scene, Stark is picked apart piece by piece by a huge flock of sparrows. Blood spurts everywhere for no other artistic reason than to "gross out" the audience. Along with the unrelenting gore, comes 39 f- and s-words. The occult, which finds its way into most horror films today, is indirectly seen in the way Stark takes control or possesses the mind of Thaddeus throughout the movie. God is said to be "on sabbatical" and therefore is no help with this demonic possession. The real offensive points in this movie are also the ones that could have been changed the easiest - the language and the violence. Don't waste your time on THE DARK HALF.

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
Orion Pictures Corp., 1325 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10019

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (32) times - Mild 21; Moderate 11

Obscene Language: Many (43) times (f-word 17, s-word 22, 4 others)

Profanity: Many (32) times - Regular 24; Exclamatory 8

Violence: Many times - severe (over 10 people killed, many with throats cut, some beaten, some kicked to death)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times - references to genitals

Drugs: Alcohol drinking - few times

Other: Demonic mind control by fictional character

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