Something Wicked This Way Comes - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Something Wicked This Way Comes Reviews

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April 14, 2017
SPOILERS

Something Wicked This Way Comes, a terrifying story of envy, celebrates the invisible dark side of want. Unfortunately the story was not able to fully flesh out director Jack Clayton's darker intentions for the story, as it was taken and "doctored" by Disney. Unfortunately that meant Clayton collaborator's Georges Delerue's superior score and the most adult aspects of the story were butchered. But what is left is a superb, atmospheric period film. The director, Jack Clayton, is by far one of the best filmmakers of the 20th century. Having years earlier helmed the scariest film ever made, The Innocents, Clayton was thoroughly prepared for this.

For one, the story shines where it exhibits the performance of Jason Robards. He plays a tired middle-aged man with the heart and soul of a child. The movie's brilliant trailer suggests the story follows him, but in the end the children are the true vehicles; which also brings me to another facet of the film: the children are great. One thing common in Clayton's films is great performances, which he believed, and I agree, to be the most important part of making a movie. No, I do not think it is the greatest film made by Clayton, but the 10/10 rating assignment is simply because what wasn't cut exposes a masterpiece of cinema.

We have two characters: Will and Jim. Will has a father, Jim doesn't. However, Will's father, Charles Halloway, feels that he might as well be invisible. His older age restricts him from doing what other dads do, and in effect he feels he has a failed as a father. Charles is obviously a great father, he's really cool and very smart, but in deep pain over an event in which he didn't save his son from drowning (someone else did), simply because he was physically incapable. Jim, on the otherhand, is jealous that his best friend has a father, even if he isn't physically ideal. His mother tries to recreate her husband by having flings with handsome men. When Mr. Dark arrives, he promises that she shall have her spouse return. But like, every desire, it is always just a short sensation with dire consequences. At the end of the film, Will's dad faces Mr. Dark, who as it happens, embodies his desires. He gives up being young again for his son. It'a a brilliant ending, most likely pure Clayton. Clayton was sidelined in production, so what can be seen of his original vision is in slices spread throughout the film, and the trailer was most likely approved and reviewed by Clayton. If you've seen any of Clayton's other films, it's much easier to identify what's Clayton and what's Disney meddling in places they shouldn't be. The film was, according to Wikipedia, "a dark thriller, which saw him to return to themes he had explored in earlier films - the supernatural, and the exposure of children to evil." Simply, it basically says that you were never innocent. In fact, innocence has never existed.
September 12, 2016
It's creepy and a bit out there. Certainly a peculiar film for Disney. It was OK, but I wouldn't say I'm a fan. (First and only viewing - 1/4/2011)
August 11, 2016
Leave it to critics to mess up the review of this classic. Yeah it's a creepy Disney film but I grew up with it and am fine lol.
July 1, 2016
I had never seen this one before, and I think I would've loved it as a kid. But, as an adult, I only found it ok. Based on a Ray Bradbury story and made by Disney, it's surprisingly dark. I did enjoy the performances of Jonathan Pryce and Jason Robards though. Not for everyone, but of you like the premise then give it a try.
½ May 26, 2016
Join Dr. Darks freak show and all your dreams will come alive in this sci fi fantasy.
½ March 1, 2016
Something Wicked This Way Comes is not a good film. The non-scary parts of the movie are boring, and the scary parts of the movie aren't that scary. It tries to water down the novel while simultaneously cramming as much of the 293-page novel as possible into a 95-minute time frame. If you want scary Disney, watch Watcher in the Woods - it's far better.
½ January 24, 2016
SWTWC may have some pieces that don't fit, but is weird enough to become a scary entertaining children nightmare.
November 19, 2015
Childhood is a precious time, a period during which all emotions are heightened to such extraordinary levels that an ordinarily perfect day becomes incrusted as a golden memory, a bout of tears a happening to reference with bitterness in the pitfalls of adulthood. A scary story stuck with you so long that you might have stayed up an entire night, exhausted, looking obsessively under the bed for a man-eating monster; a particularly frightening scene in a movie (for me, it was seeing Lois Lane almost get buried alive in 1978's "Superman") is something unforgettable, something that temporarily (or perhaps permanently), messes up the bowels of innocent youth.
"Something Wicked This Way Comes" does the impossible - it captures the romanticized years of childhood with sweeping nostalgia while still managing to work as an encapsulating horror fantasy that, unsurprisingly, emulates the ghost stories kids tell each other over s'mores and freshly-cut grass on hot summer nights. Though produced by Disney, it is not a children's movie, rather a psychological, sometimes fantastical, drama for adults that combines real life horror with the outreach of the psychedelic macabre. It's uneven, but when "Something Wicked This Way Comes" works, it sticks with you, like a one-track-minded fly on the wall.
It takes place in flashback, living in the memory of its now-grown protagonists, Will Holloway (Vidal Peterson) and Jim Nightshade (Shawn Carson), who, as depicted in the film, are thirteen-year-old best friends living in rural, Technicolor Illinois. Life is carefree, made of the little quirks that become beautiful items of the past. But the most disturbing memory, the one that changes their lives forever, is the focal point of the film, being the arrival of Mr. Dark's (Jonathan Pryce) Pandemonium Carnival, which features strange wonders unlike any circus the two have ever encountered. After much snooping, though, the friends discover that the origin of the carnival is much more sinister than it first appears - and it may soon begin to affect their own lives.
"Something Wicked This Way Comes" combines horror and fantasy with a sensationally uncanny atmosphere, impenetrably unsettling in the most imaginative of ways. But I'm not so sure about the implementation of its children's movie tropes, which, despite being mainstays of Ray Bradbury's novel of the same name, feel slightly forced, as the film is produced by Disney who, unwisely, believed it would work out as a family night out (it was a flop, barely able to even make back half of its budget). Luckily, though, Clayton ("Room at the Top," "The Innocents") keeps the ambience mostly chilly and hallucinatory - it is nightmarish in a warm, childlike way, its scares comparable to something out of an impressionable child's biggest fears. Oddly enough, one could say that the film is touching, frank about the struggles of adulthood and attentive toward the sacred years of childhood.
Leading actor Jason Robards makes for a sturdy, reluctant hero, with Pryce and an under-appreciated Pam Grier working as quasi-villains whose mysterious personas are never much explained and therefore make them characters that linger in the memory. And that's what "Something Wicked This Way Comes" - it lingers in the memory, with its eccentric touches, its coming-of-age twirls, its fantasies, for better or worse.
October 15, 2015
Revisited this in 2015 after not seeing it since I was 13. For adults it doesn't hold up real well but it's watchable. It still was a nice spooky movie intro for our younger kids (8 and 10) and that's what we wanted it for. If you liked the idea of this but are disappointed by it try Lady in White, which is pretty fantastic and nails the genera pretty spot on.
October 14, 2015
For a Disney film, this flick is super freaky and super scary! Good cast...and is scarier than most horror films.
August 20, 2015
All I could think while watching this is how much better a remake could be.
½ August 4, 2015
Kids on Halloween will love this i guess. I was just glad to see Richard Davalos
½ April 11, 2015
Pryce is fantastic as the mysterious carnival barker as a sort of wish granting genie but with a catch.....good scary/fantasy movie for the young or young of heart.
½ November 5, 2014
Truly captured something of childhood fear, if incoherent, at times.
September 24, 2014
Pryce is excellent as the villain but I frequently found myself not paying attention to the rest of the movie.
June 3, 2014
I've tried a few times over the years to sit through this whole movie, and I just can't. I realize it was made in 1983, but even taking that into consideration, the production quality is pretty awful, especially by Disney standards. The plot drags and none of the characters are particularly likeable. Definitely not some of Disney's best.
May 25, 2014
One of my favorite books as a child, and I couldn't wait to see the film. I rewatched it last night with a friend and our daughters. It didn't disappoint. still works. Jonathan Pryce and Jason Robards are terrific (had quite a little crush on the former the first time I saw this); the relationships between father and son as well as friends is sweet; it is beautiful to look at, and it delivers just enough creepiness to satisfy adults and not scare children too much. check this one out.
March 6, 2014
4/5
Though at times uneven, and with dated effects, Something Wicked this Way Comes is a fantastic, haunting ,visionary look at greed
½ December 30, 2013
This film is genuinely frightening and you'll be at the edges of your seats. it's concept could be classed as predictable, but nowhere near as disturbing or as imaginative. I was near death with this film because of it's gripping sensation and fearsome antics. Mr Dark is such a threatening yet excellent villain who has a great thriller voice. I would definitely recommend this film, although beware of the gruesome scenes and bloody moments. But it's definitely a great horror film
December 20, 2013
Something about this movie makes it one of my ultimate fav movies.
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