CHAPELWAITE Review: Adrien Brody Delivers A Tortured Turn In Epix's Chilling Stephen King Adaptation

CHAPELWAITE Review: Adrien Brody Delivers A Tortured Turn In Epix's Chilling Stephen King Adaptation

Epix's Chapelwaite, which is based on Stephen King's short story Jerusalem's Lot, is set to premiere later this month, and while it does stretch the chilling tale too thin, it's well worth your time.

Stephen King adaptations don't tend to fare particularly well on the small screen. While some do manage to capture and convey the sense of dread that permeates the Master of Horror's novels, for every HBO's The Outsider there's CBS' The Stand or the more recent Apple TV+ drama Lisey's Story.

Epix's Chapelwaite, which is set to premiere on August 22, is a mostly successful take on King's 1978 short story Jerusalem's Lot, although it's far from a direct adaptation. While some of the narrative changes do work in the show's favour, the decision to expand the core story to fill 10 hour-long episodes proves to be detrimental.

Chapelwaite begins with sea captain Charles Boone (Adrien Brody) and his three children (Jennifer Ens, Sirena Gulamgaus, and Ian Ho) setting sail for the town of Preacher's Corners in Maine following the death of his wife. Boone's late cousin Stephen invited him to move into the family home of Chapelwaite, but on arrival, Charles soon learns that the people of Preacher's Corners have nothing but contempt for the Boone name.

The children's Polynesian background singles them out for scorn before they've even had a chance to settle in, and to make matters worse, Charles begins to hear strange sounds in the old house and is plagued by nightmarish visions. Some comfort is found in Rebecca Morgan (Emily Hampshire), who accepts a position as the children's governess. Charles feels an immediate connection to the young writer, but unbeknownst to him, she has her own agenda for befriending the family.

Little by little, Charles begins to uncover the terrifying secrets that hide in the nearby town of Jerusalem's Lot, and must do everything in his power to protect his kids from the curse that's plagued his family for generations.

Chapelwaite TV Show, UK Air Date, UK TV Premiere Date, US TV Premiere Date,  US TV Air Date

Jerusalem's Lot served as a prequel (of sorts) to Salem's Lot, and Chapelwaite actually leans more heavily into that concept. While King's original story was primarily focused on Boone attempting to prevent the summoning of "The Worm" (an ancient, evil deity), the miniseries introduces some bona fide bloodsuckers for our heroes to contend with, and their leader, Jakub (Christopher Heyerdahl), is the stuff of nightmares.

Brody has been widely criticized in the lead role, and while his accent and hushed delivery do take some getting used to, he puts in a haunting, tortured performance as a father fighting to retain his sanity. He's given strong support by Hampshire, Ho and Ens, but Sirena Gulamgaus deserves special mention as Charles' tragic youngest daughter, Loa.

Chapelwaite wastes little time in establishing a creepy, foreboding atmosphere, but it does stretch the story a little thin, especially during its first few episodes. The main plotline involving Boone, Rebecca and the kids is never less than engaging, but momentum stalls whenever the focus shifts to the supporting characters.

Fortunately, the tale culminates in an intense, bloody showdown that proves to be well worth braving some choppy waters to reach, and the finale packs a surprisingly emotional wallop.

Chapelwaite does drag at times and may test the resolve of those watching on a weekly basis. But as the mystery unfolds, this grim, gothic yarn reveals some terrifying secrets, and rewards viewers' patience with a beautiful, bittersweet ending.

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