Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

A Good Marriage

(Stephen King's A Good Marriage)

Here’s a happy accident. Somehow this floated to the top of my Netflix queue and I got it instead of John Wick, which was what I wanted. I put it in the queue in the first place on the strength of Joan Allen being in it. I have always liked her. The co-star is Anthony LaPaglia, who is also usually good. But the Metacritic score was a lousy 43, and the viewers at IMDb rated it a miserable 5.1.

Stephen King actually wrote the screenplay, from a novella published in 2010. Joan and Tony are a happily married couple, all lovey-dovey, with two grown children. But she soon stumbles on proof that he is actually the dreaded serial rapist/killer known as Beadie, who sends the drivers licenses of his victims to police to taunt them. (King was inspired by Dennis Rader, known as the BTK Killer: Bind, Torture, Kill. This monster lived a normal, church-going life, with a wife and kids, and killed over a thirty-year period. At least one of his victims was a child.)

Tony quickly catches her, and is surprisingly okay with it. He tells her she can turn him in if she wishes, and he will never harm her, but asks her to think of the horror that would be visited on the family by such a sensational story. Instead he proposes a bargain. He will stop the killing if they simple never speak of it again. Life can go on.

She thinks it over for a few days, and decides that she has to take the deal. Or so she says. I was suspicious of her from the start. In my mind, the only moral thing to do is kill the motherfucker … and get away with it. There has to be a convincing accident. The story is further complicated by a bulldog of a retired cop who has been chasing Beadie for years, and suspects Tony is the killer.

Lee and I agreed that this was much better than we had been led to expect. I can only attribute the low viewer score to the low amount of blood and gore. So many people have come to expect bloodbaths in their horror films. Most of the tension here is psychological, as it is in most of King’s best work. There is one fairly harrowing scene, but this is not one for the ghouls out there.