TV review: Lisey's Story
LISEY'S STORY (M18)
If you are in the mood for a challenging creepshow, you cannot go too wrong with this new series based on the award-winning 2006 novel by Stephen King and adapted by the legendary horror author himself.
Currently showing on Apple TV+, Lisey's Story follows grieving widow Lisey Landon (Julianne Moore) two years after the death of her husband, beloved fiction novelist Scott Landon (Clive Owen).
A series of unsettling events causes her to revive and face repressed memories of their marriage.
Things are set in motion when Scott creates a posthumous "bool" hunt for her, a scavenger hunt of sorts with a prize at the end he wants her to find.
In addition, Lisey has to deal with a violent stalker (Dane DeHaan) who is obsessed with stealing Scott's unpublished manuscripts from her home.
The show unapologetically goes back and forth four timelines. Strange past events are shown in flashbacks, and she often stops herself mid-reminisce to avoid uncovering terrible truths.
The extreme weirdness and whiplash may not sit well with those whose comfort zone is linear storytelling.
Two episodes in, and you may feel disoriented, frustrated and downright turned off.
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Moore is adept at playing despairing women in peril, but at times her performance can be overwrought.
But stick around if you are fascinated by the elements of magical realism, such as Scott's special ability to transport himself to an alternate yet dangerous dimension called Boo'ya Moon (think the Upside Down from Stranger Things, complete with its own Demogorgons).
Then there is the disturbing mystery of Lisey's mentally fragile sister (a terrific Joan Allen), a self-harming cutter who slips into catatonia and has a close connection with Scott.
Psychological horror aside, Lisey's Story is also a romantic one. It is hard to look away from the sublime nature of the couple's love story, one that transcends the darkness of mental illness and childhood trauma.