Stephen King’s body of work is formidable, and he’s still churning out novels at an admirable pace, which makes this adaptation of A Good Marriage mildly surprising. It’s not bad, but it’s puzzling why director Peter Askin (“best” known for 2007’s Trumbo) and King himself bothered to adapt a nondescript novella from the Master of Horror’s autumn years. “Nondescript” certainly describes Bob (Anthony LaPaglia) and Darcy (Joan Allen) Anderson, a couple enjoying their 25th anniversary.
This is King, however, so there’s also a Mysterious Creepy Guy shadowing the couple who may be connected to the
serial killer called “Beadie,” who recently slew his 12th victim. It’s not much of a spoiler to say Bob, who leaves Ned Flanders-esque notes advising his wife how to park the car, is in fact “Beadie.” It’s still amusing watching Darcy go through the process of discovery — finding his bondage mags and a victim’s ID — in about 10 minutes.
Let that be a lesson to you budding Lecters: Hide the evidence somewhere your wife won’t look, like the kitchen! A sheltered housewife, Darcy has a steep learning curve coming to grips with the fact the father of her kids/part-time numismatist has been torturing women to death for 30 years. Despite this, and thanks to her unraveling grasp on reality, she fears the consequences if she goes to the authorities.
Will she take matters into her own hands? In keeping with late-era King, the horror in A Good Marriage is more psychological, playing off Darcy’s moral quandary and its aftereffects. It’s serviceable, demonstrating that perhaps the Master’s new movie domain can be found in mining his later works.