I remember when I first saw The Tommyknockers when I was a kid and remembering how terrifying it was for me and how uncomfortable this miniseries made me feel. Scenes like in the beginning when the dolls came to life or that montage that had all those people staring at the green fireworks, there were so subtle but it terrified me so much. This miniseries is a perfect example of how times have changed… it scared me back then, but now, it just puts me to sleep. It’s an average movie but has room for so much more improvement.
What this movie is essentially about is a small town woman who stumbles into the woods and finds a buried alien spacecraft. After digging it up, several of the townsfolk begin acting weird, they begin making things out of simple household appliances and some of them begin to hear things that aren’t there. I mean, the miniseries does follow closely to the original book and it’s really one of the better Stephen King adaptations.
What I really enjoyed about this movie was how freaky the movie can be without showing any kind of aliens or gore… this is not including the ending episodes. In fact, I think that the beginning part of this miniseries was freakier then the last part because it had more uncomfortable moments. Take for example the scene when Jim is running through the forest and he sees Bobbi looking ahead, she then turns around with this blank expression with glowing green eyes… that’s fucked up! Or when that automatic typewriter is typing, “Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at your door,” by itself in all its green glory… seriously fucked up shit.
One thing that I really like about Stephen King novels is the way that they progress and this one progressed nicely. It set up the main characters and it made you, in some way, feel for them and understand them more. I think that the characters were brilliantly casted and acting by both Traci Lords and Smits are some of the best acting I have seen in a TV series.
However, there are a few things that I do not like about this miniseries. The one noticeable thing was, and maybe it’s my DVD, half of the entire miniseries was off synch. The voices had a 1 second delay and it was pissing me off. It took me out of the movie, and even if it’s been in the final cut and it was my DVD, how do they pass a DVD inspection like that? I call lousy distribution. Even if the audio was synched right, most of the actors acted pretty bland… except for the above mentioned.
Another disappointment that I had was that there wasn’t a lot of the machines that people built as there was in the book. I felt like some of them were omitted, which is fine for time, but I really wanted to see them. And, a bit off topic, the aliens were iffy and the ending seemed a bit rushed but I can deal with it… those are just minor complains.
So, in perspective… the movie is decent, I won’t call it a masterpiece because it could have been better and it could have been distributed better but it was okay. It had a good pace, even though it seemed to drag here and there, there were some freaky scenes and the main characters were greatly casted aside from the bland supporting characters. I felt like the ending was a bit rushed and corny but that’s fine, I can accept that. In the general scheme of things… it was okay.