Did Deck the Halls Kidnap Your Interest?

If you watched the TNT Mystery Movie Night presentation of Mary Higgins Clark’s and Carol Higgins Clark’s Deck the Halls last night, what did you think?  Did it kidnap your interest then feed it some Christmas cookies before releasing it?

And what do you think now about the concept?  At HQ, we’ve found the movies a mixed bag— some where we’d enjoy sequels, and some not really. Often, it has to do with how much the stories and characters are simplified for the screen.  Too predictable and too broadly drawn, and crime fans—who by definition enjoy uncovering the hidden—can get bored. Some of the actors are capable of imbuing the roles with more subtext than others, and that makes the portrayal richer and more interesting. 

What if they didn’t bother repeating flashback scenes as reminders or having the characters narrate and summarize everything we’re seeing?  The great cable crime shows have demonstrated that audiences can handle some ambiguity and don’t mind investing attention to detail, and it doesn’t take a huge budget for special effects or glossy sets, but the writing and acting and direction have to be good. Would it be fun, do you think, to see TNT try executing one of these stories in a more challenging way?

Comments

  1. Carmen Pinzon

    I enjoyed this movie as light entertainment. I’ve watched 4 of the movies and will be watching again next time TNT brings them out. I think the lighthearted ones worked better than the intense ones.

  2. Clare 2e

    Hmmm-That’s interesting feedback about the lighter side versus the heavier themes!

  3. Steve Oerkfitz

    Too light for me but than Mary Higgins Clark is not my idea of a good mystery writer to begin with. The TNT movies seem to resemble a mediocre TV show more than a fully realized film.

  4. Carmen Pinzon

    @clare2e- I meant that the intense ones didn’t have enough time to go into their subject properly, imo. I was left wondering what was left out. The lighter ones I just enjoyed as entertainment and didn’t have to think too much about what was cut from the books.

  5. Clare 2e

    I got your meaning @bungluna, and it’s an interesting take on it.
    Somewhat similar to @Lastyear’s comments about not being fully realized. I tend to think they just have to jam more meaning and intensity into what’s present–and that may be extremely challenging when people don’t already know the backstory, so that has to work its way in somewhere. I think that can be done with visual storytelling and scripting–doesn’t have to be about length or budget, though 88 minutes is a challenge, certainly, when feature films are routinely 2 hours.

  6. Carrie

    Enjoyed it. Something lighthearted, not too serious. However, I would hope the book was more suspensful.

  7. Terrie Farley Moran

    It was in the same range as the unending Christmas movies I have been watching with my grandkids–light and full of schmaltz. I think that was how it was intended.

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