Castle Rock is an horror television show executive produced by the master of horror Stephen King (Mr. Mercedes, The Mist, 11.22.63, Haven, & Under the Dome) & based on the stories of the legendary author. It was created by Sam Shaw (Manhattan, Cocked, & Masters of Sex) & Dustin Thomason (The Surgeon General, Lie to Me, & The Evidence). It produced by J.J. Abrams (Lovecraft Country, Westworld, Person of Interest, & 11.22.63) & Mark Lafferty (Halt and Catch Fire, Genius, White Collar, & Manhattan). It was made for & premiered on Hulu for both seasons. It features several familiar characters from the Stephen King universe & references lots of his past work in it. Annie Wilkes from the 1987 novel & 1990 movie “Misery” is the main character for this season. It premiered on October 23rd 2019 exclusively on Hulu. It was directed by Greg Yaitanes (House), Phil Abraham (Daredevil), Anne Sewitsky (Monster), Craig William Macneill (Channel Zero), Lisa Brühlmann (Killing Eve), Mark Tonderai (Locke & Key), & Loni Peristere (American Horror Story).
Annie Wilkes (played by: Lizzy Caplan from Cloverfield, Hot Tub Time Machine, Now You See Me 2, & Masters of Sex) & her teenage daughter Joy (played by: Elsie Fisher from The Addams Family, Eighth Grade, The Axe Murders of Villisca Ina, & Despicable Me franchise) have been traveling on the road since Joy was a child. What are they running from? They end up stranded in Castle Rock following a car accident. They take a room at the Stargazer Lodge which is owned by Ace Merrill (played by: Paul Sparks from Boardwalk Empire, House of Cards, Waco, & The Lovebirds). Ace has a troubled relationship with his uncle “Pop” Merrill (played by: Tim Robbins from Jacob’s Ladder, Top Gun, Mystic River, The Shawshank Redemption, & The Hudsucker Proxy)who raised Ace & his brother Chris (played by: Matthew Alan from 13 Reasons Why, Snowfall, & Lovecraft Country). He also raised two Somalian orphan refugees Abdi (played by: Barkhad Abdi from Captain Phillips, Blade Runner 2049, Good Time, & The Pirates of Somalia) & Nadia Howlwadaag (played by: Yusra Warsama from Dracula, My Brother The Devil, & The Last Days on Mars) with them. A family rivalry starts brewing between all of them. Annie Wilkes is threatened by Ace Merrill & ends up killing him in self defense. He mysteriously shows back up after missing a few days like nothing ever happened. Joy meets a new friend named Chance (played by: Abby Corrigan from Banshee & Rectify) & she bonds with the local kids that live near her. Annie deals with her past including her father Carl (played by: John Hoogenakker from Teacher, Jack Ryan, Public Enemies, & Boss), her mother Chrysida (played by: Robin Weigert from Bombshell, Deadwood, American Horror Story, & Sons of Anarchy), & Rita K. Green (played by: Sarah Gadon from Most Dangerous Game, True Detective, 11.22.63, & Dracula Untold). The people of Castle Rock start dying or going missing. The settlers from New Jerusalem sacrificed themselves & they have been resurrected after four hundred years. They start taking over their bodies & they are lead by Amity (played by: Mathilde Dehaye from After the Outbreak, Castle Rock Season One, & The Pretenders). Can Castle Rock defend themselves against these outsiders that are trying to take over their town? or Will it become a new world for them all????
I was a big fan of season one for Castle Rock & I thought two was even better than that! Fans of Stephen King & his Misery novel/movie will love this entry into the world of the master of horror. This serves as an origin story & prequel to the classic King character. Honestly, I thought no one else could pull off that role besides Oscar winner Kathy Bates but Lizzy Caplan knocked it out of the park as the younger version of the deranged Annie Wilkes. It’s definitely the best performance of her career so far. She had the original voice down perfect & mannerisms from what we all know. If you were in another room, you would think it’s Kathy Bates reprising the iconic character again. In my opinion, this is the true highlight when it comes to season two besides the Christine cameo. You get to know Annie even more here & see what made her so crazy. Plus it shows why she loves the Misery character & author so much during this. Lizzy Caplan & Elsie Fisher had excellent chemistry. Paul Sparks was a great villain in this & pulled off the sleazebag role like it was natural. Veteran actor Tim Robbins was the glue for this chapter of Castle Rock & he was connected to every major character from this plus some from the past. As you know, Robbins was amazing in King’s The Shawshank Redemption, he was one of the best things about this follow up also. The supporting cast was great which included all kinds of familiar faces. I don’t know what’s up with Castle Rock because they did the same exact thing for the first season but it always goes in a random & weird direction that has nothing to do with anything else. A few episodes really didn’t fit the rest of the material & I wasn’t a fan of the New Jerusalem sub-plot towards the end. Besides that, this is one of the best television shows out right now & it has so much more potential for other classic Stephen King characters to show up here, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation & special feature from Warner Bros! This 1080p (2.00:1) transfer looks amazing. The classic Stephen King location is on full display here. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is very impressive. All of the chaos & madness that take place in Castle Rock have a killer boost to them. All of the dialogue is crystal clear. The score & soundtrack are elevated here. It also has English SDH subtitles. “ANNIE WILKES: Mother of Sorrow” is almost 17 minutes. It has interviews with lead actress Lizzy Caplan & a producer from the show. They chat about Misery & the character Annie meant to them before doing the show. They talk about adding more to the mysterious villain. They wanted to fill in the gaps & show why she became the way she was in Misery. They go over the other characters & sub-plots for the season two. They bring the flashbacks & her origin story from it. They point out that it’s interesting a baddie like Annie has to be a hero against others in this. It also includes a slipcover & a digital code. This needs to be in your Stephen King ASAP. It’s available for streaming right now on Hulu & in stores next Tuesday, CHECK IT OUT!!!!