Michael Sauter
March 04, 1994 AT 05:00 AM EST

Needful Things

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Bonnie Bedelia, Ed Harris, Amanda Plummer, Max von Sydow, J.T. Walsh
director
Fraser Clarke Heston
distributor
Columbia Pictures, New Line Cinema
author
W.D. Richter
genre
Horror, Drama, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C-

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.

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