I love Pierce Brosnan. He was my first James Bond, so when I started to see previews for Stephen King’s Bag of Bones with Brosnan I was interested. A 4-hour 2-day miniseries, Bag of Bones is based on the King novel of the same name and briefly fills the recent gap The Walking Dead has left on Sunday evenings. The first episode aired on A&E Sunday, December 11th, with the completion tonight, December 12th at 9 pm est.
Brosnan plays writer Michael Noonan, whose successful prime is brought up short by the devastating death of his clichély pregnant wife, who may or may not have been having an affair with someone at their vacation home. In an attempt to regain his slipping career and crank out a new novel in record time, Noonan takes an extended holiday to the same family owned lake house, which appears to be haunted by the ghost of a 1930’s blues singer and maybe his dead wife. While there he meets a young and beautiful widowed mother deeply embattled with her ex father-in-law over the custody of her daughter. Somehow I’m sure this will all tie together in some clever fashion, but as it stands the story is under-developed and spread horribly thin for something with so little substance to go around.
The first episode follows Noonan’s prolonged bouts of grief and writer’s block (been there buddy). Nothing overly supernatural happens beyond Noonan’s trippy dreams with lots of “meaningful” imagery that really doesn’t have much meaning at all. Maybe that is something that will come in the second episode, but at this point, it’s mostly frustrating. This isn’t a slow burn kind of build up to horror. It’s not really suspenseful, it’s horribly confusing and if I’m being perfectly honest, really boring.
The tone of the story starts to change once Noonan settles into the haunted lake house. Populated mostly by light creeps such as the ringing of the stuffed moose’s bell collar. Opened windows. Moving alphabet magnets (really?). All simple, common “scary” things following the vein of a watered down poltergeist. Lots of vagaries toward women being drowned and a small town full of secrets. But… it’s nothing really engaging.
Bag of Bones gives the sneaking suspicion that A&E is trying too hard to compete with the current horror TV market. With some heavy hitters like FX’s American Horror Story and AMC’s The Walking Dead, the first episode of Bag of Bones falls sadly short. Hopefully the second episode steps up its game, otherwise A&E is putting out the Lifetime Channel equivalent of horror, relying too heavily on Stephen King’s reputation and Pierce Brosnan’s waning sex appeal.