A GOOD MARRIAGE (2014)
Directed by Peter Askin
Darcy and her family celebrate her husband Bob’s achievements during their 25th wedding anniversary party. Their daughter remarks on how her parents have a good marriage and that through hard work and a lot of love, the couple are as strong as ever. All that is set to change when Darcy discovers her husband’s hidden secret… To Darcy, Bob is a simple accountant who has a hobby of collecting rare coins, but to 12 females out there in the city, he’s known as a predator, a rapist and a murderer… a serial killer named Beadie. Discovering Bob’s grisly secret, will Darcy snitch to the police or will she play happily ever after to maintain her “good marriage”?
Adapted from a short story by iconic horror author Stephen King, A GOOD MARRIAGE focuses on the relationship between a happily married couple and a huge secret that would strain any healthy marriage. With a perfect life and a daughter who’s about to get married, can Darcy afford to shop her husband in to the police? And if she doesn’t, will he resist from taking more innocent lives? If not, Darcy will have more than blood on her hands from concealing the true nature of her husband.
Joan Allen puts in a solid performance as the attractive older woman who’s rock solid marriage to Anthony LaPaglia’s hornball Bob begins to crumble in front of her very eyes. Her kind nature and innocence to the secret life of her cunning husband, who talks about his crimes as though they were nothing important, make her a character to empathise with though the choice she will make will affect the viewer’s opinion of her character as the film goes on. Though he appears to be quite a boring middle-aged man who deals with people’s taxes for a living and leaves post-it notes around the house for his wife, Bob is quite a controlling character who never misses a trick. Darcy begins to understand this very quickly once she discovers his secret. With his leering at female passers-by and at neighbour Betty, who has a habit of wearing short skirts and low cut tops, doubt is thrown into Darcy’s mind whether or not her husband will strike again.
A GOOD MARRIAGE forces the viewer to question what they’d do if they were in Darcy’s shoes. How would you react if you found out the person you love was responsible for the depraved deaths of numerous people? The film deals with the consequences rather than focusing on the action of the murders which makes it more of a thoughtful dramatic thriller rather than a horror as such, though the threat of what may potentially happen to Darcy is always lingering in the background. The film even hints that her husband’s behaviour could be genetic as their son displays a disturbing attitude towards women during one particular scene. Much like Stephen King’s novels though, the story struggles with a weak ending that doesn’t justify or feel worthy of the build-up that proceeded it.
Ultimately, A GOOD MARRIAGE struggles to be anything more than a brief and basic idea which plays out pretty much as you expect it to. It doesn’t really throw up anything new or exciting leaving the viewer a little unsatisfied by the time the end credits roll. Though it’s not a bad movie, the lack of a twist or meatier story to sink your teeth into leaves the plot feeling like a missed opportunity, even if it does display some strong performances.