Not Like The Movie I Saw In School!
Catwoman59 | Grand Junction CO USA | 10/19/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This made-for-TV movie, while of necessity having a story woven around Ms. Jackson's original short story (I guess in order to justify its 90-minute length), fell short in more than one way. The events leading up to Jason's trip to Maine and the town his dying father wished to have his ashes scattered in were less than convincing, as was the ending of the movie. We have Jason, the would-be hero, Felice, the fair damsel, the evil mayor who seemed to exercise God-like control over all the village's inhabitants (he forbade young Henry Watkins to go to a ball game the day of the lottery, and also persuaded Felice not to leave town with Jason on the eve of the lottery-though how he got into her home, much less her bedroom as she was packing is never really explained), the snotty sheriff's deputy and the villagers themselves. The only part of the movie worth watching was the lottery itself, although even that didn't follow the short story as well as I would have liked. The movie I saw in school was only about 40 minutes long, followed Ms. Jackson's story line exactly and was frightening to the point that I distinctly remember my blood running cold even though I was only in the seventh grade when I saw it. This TV fluff didn't really do justice to the horror I remember as a kid seeing that the woman who drew the marked ballot was about to be stoned to death so the corn would give a good harvest. The premise of the TV movie was that the stoning was a talisman against unemployment, crime, illiteracy and other social ills. Jason winds up in the state mental institution upon discovering the horrid truth of New Hope and its annual rite when he tries to report the stoning of Felice's mother. His father had wound up there for life for the same reason: his own wife was a victim of the rite and he consequently was banished from the village when he tried to save her. That Jason's father, then Jason himself winds up in the mental ward speaks of a conspiracy too large for credibility, in my view. I guess even a good storyteller isn't immune to the forces of political correctness."
Comes across as either a soap opera or a movie on Lifetime
fra7299 | California, United States | 11/01/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"My suggestion is that you read the short story because it is more effective at telling a "horror" story than this movie can possibly depict. This film just does not capture the eeriness that Shirley Jackson's work tried to show.
Sometimes filmmakers try overly hard to "modernize" a novel (or in this case, short story) and, in doing so, take out the power of the work. This film does just that, coming across more as a cheap B-movie than creating any type of creepiness. Not only this, but the acting and story are really hollow and wooden, coming across as something you might find at 8 or 9 on Lifetime. It just seems like some type of soap opera fluff, with amateurish actors.
Another problem with the film is that, unlike the short story, there is too much information given, which seems to plague most of today's horror movies. Sometimes what is left to the imagination creates much more suspense, but with the constant "flashbacks" we can only guess what is going to happen in the small town of New Hope, where our protagonist goes in search of answers to his mother's death. What we don't know, the subtle information that is lacking makes a story keeps its suspense intact. This movie seemingly gives it away within the first 10 minutes of the film, whereas in the short story you are kind of hit all of the sudden when it dawns on you what "the lottery" really is. A better imagination might have helped this film, but I guess that can't be expected with most films that are "adapted" to meet a work of fiction.
If there is anything that is redeeming it is the last half hour of the film. This is the only part that really identifies with Shirley Jackson's short story, and some of the parallels are drawn here. Otherwise, it is mediocre at best.
Happy to have used it in my Intro. to Writing class at colle
Noreen Bifulco | new york | 01/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I coupled the DVD up with Jackson's short story. I had the class read the story in class--which is always interesting to see the reactions. The next week I played the movie much to their delight. I had viewed it first and wondered how the class would react. It's exactly what a made-for-tv movie would expect to be--set in the 90's it includes action,romance and simple dialogue. It was a different take on the story with only some references to the original story but interestingly enough it held all of my student's attention. So much so, they were yelling at the screen. But, I feel that if I they had not been introduced to the story in print firs they may not have had that same passion for the movie. To paraphrase the student's take on the movie, a majority of them said they thought it was "cheesy" at first but then they got really into it.
I ended this lesson with having them compare and contrast certain aspects of the movie with the short story."
Stephanie H. Wood | 03/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film has a great section that could be viewed in an English class...the whole film is not true to the actual story, but the actual lottery section is pretty close...I used it in my classroom."