Needful Things

Genre: Horror, Drama, Mystery and Thriller; Starring: Bonnie Bedelia, Ed Harris, Amanda Plummer, Max von Sydow, J.T. Walsh; Director: Fraser Clarke Heston; Author: W.D. Richter; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: Columbia Pictures, New Line Cinema

In a sly reversal of his Exorcist role, Von Sydow plays a satanic shopkeeper who hangs out his shingle in a sleepy town. There he trades for people’s souls by tempting them with the objects they covet most-an amulet that cures arthritis, a Mickey Mantle baseball card. Based on yet another Stephen King novel, the movie is at its best early on when it sardonically spoofs its source material. But as the townsfolk turn on each other, the mayhem gets increasingly noisy and conventionally bloody. By the end, half the town has blown up, half the people are dead, and a Baptist preacher and a Catholic priest are slugging it out on the main street. Not funny, not scary, just stupid.

Originally posted March 4 1994 — 12:00 AM EST

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