CRITICAL / REVIEWS SERIES – The name of Stephen King remains a safe bet to attract a minimum of the public. “Chapelwaite” with Adrien Brody is an adaptation of a text less known to the general public which has just arrived on Amazon Prime Video in France.
Chapelwaite, a prequel of Salem
It’s not always easy to find your way around the large list of works written by Stephen King. It must be said that the boy was productive in his career and, moreover, the cinema and the TV have not failed to multiply the adaptations. Certain titles have a stronger resonance in the collective imagination. This is the case, for example, of Salem, whose reputation is well established. On the other hand, the general public knows much less about the news. The one who keeps the worm (from which the Amazon series is taken Chapelwaite), published in Dance of Death, while it is rightly attached to Salem. To summarize, we can speak of a prequel in his case, since the story takes place before the events of the main story.
In Chapelwaite, it is about Charles Boone, a sailor who undertakes to return to his hometown, with his children, following the death of his wife. Back home, he will quickly understand that strange events are taking place in the area and discover disturbing secrets.
A slow-paced series
Chapelwaite sets the tone for entry by establishing a macabre aura. Charles, as a child, witnesses a tragic event in connection with his parents. When we find him later, in the guise of Adrien Brody, it is still a question of death. In the space of a few minutes, the series makes us realize where we have fallen. Lover of cheerfulness, you can already go your way. This first impression is confirmed as the series progresses. It develops and sets up a heavy, disturbing atmosphere, without immediately relying on great horrific effects or a thunderous progression. On the contrary, Chapelwaite takes his time to build up a dull tension, which we do not immediately understand the horrific motive behind it.
This slow approach can confuse and prevent full involvement in the issues, especially since the characters have a hard time catching us. To offer the services of a star like Adrien Brody is a good thing but the Charles that he embodies displays too much monotony in his characterization to arouse various emotions in us. We don’t get attached to many people or much, except for the little mystery surrounding the nature of the threat.
An adaptation of Stephen King that will not be remembered
Stephen King fans will recognize the connection with Salem, when the others can still be content to follow the show without this additional dimension. This is not fundamentally a handicap, especially since the basic text, rather short, is here certainly reworked to fit over a season of 10 episodes. A format too long for what is being told and this is felt in the first episodes which drag their feet. Chapelwaite goes after the extraordinary Midnight sermons, who played precisely with similar arguments (a slow installation, a late identification of evil, a heavy atmosphere) by succeeding in sublimating them into a coherent, inspired and intelligent whole.
This adaptation of King does not box in the same category, without demerit when it embraces its horrific side. The series gives us some appreciable bloody bursts and partly realizes the potential of its grayish atmosphere. Neither failure nor success, Chapelwaite risk, like the text on which it is based, of being condemned to indifference. The work of Stephen King is not yet neglected by the cinema or the TV, it will not be long in finding better elsewhere.
Chapelwaite created by Peter Filardi and Jason Filardi, on Amazon Prime Video on October 27, 2021. Above the trailer. Find all our trailers here.