CHAPELWAITE (2021) – A Stephen King short story that goes on and on …

Rating: ⭐

Chapelwaite is adapted from a Stephen King short story titled “Jerusalem’s Lot”. This originally was a 30-page epistolary (ie story told in the form of a series of letters) that also served as a prequel and background story to King’s massively thicker and longer story, “Salem’s Lot”. Ironically, the brief tale of Jerusalem’s Lot is expanded and stretched into 10 episodes in this mini series Chapelwaite, while the novel Salem’s Lot is making its way in a remake to the big screen as a stand alone motion picture to be released next year.

The title Chapelwaite refers to the name of the house in which the story’s main character, Captain Charles Boone moves in with his family after having inherited the place from his cousin. The setting is in the 1850’s and the location is set once again in Stephen King’s favourite location for many of his stories, the small coastal state of Maine. What becomes immediately apparently when watching is series is its slow pacing and lack of strong characters and storyline. Stretching the short story into 10 episodes means that the film makers have taken the liberty to pad the story up with all sorts of new characters, and storyline. This need not necessarily be a bad thing if done well but when done badly as it was in this case, it makes the series feel sluggish and repetitive. It does not help when most of the characters come across as uninteresting and even annoying. This is in contrast to what we are accustomed to in Stephen King’s stories which are often populated with complex and interesting characters. We are also subjected to long stretches where nothing really much happens.

Academy Award winning actor Adrien Brody takes on the role as one of the Executive Producers for the series, as well as the leading actor here. As Charles Boone, Adrien Brody fails to project a compelling or commanding presence. He seems at lost most of the time, and is not very convincing or reassuring as the story’s hero. There are some similarities in themes here with Mike Flanagan’s far more superior Midnight Mass, particularly those involving the conflicts and questioning on religion, but these were very poorly presented here. The vampires here are also rather lame and doesn’t seem to possess very powerful supernatural capabilities.

Apart from its relevance as a background story to the main stream novel of Salem’s Lot, Chapelwaite is not worthy of a watch. It would probably have been more effective and absorbing had it been trimmed down to a feature length presentation or at most a three parter mini series. I found myself struggling to complete the series. As it stands, this one makes for boring television.

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