Before vampires and zombies ruled the Earth, there was Stephen King, the man who almost single-handedly reinvigorated the horror genre, in book, film and miniseries form. Along the way he also created his own personal algebra by which to predict the quality of whatever new project is in the offing. When one writes so many books, it is almost numerically impossible that all of them will be good, and some of King's aren't. But good or bad, most are adapted to film and/or TV, which requires a whole new set of variables. Adaptations of books requiring, as King's do, the creation of a particular mood, are very difficult; when they work — "The Shining," "Misery," "Salem's Lot," "The Stand" — they work big, but usually they don't.
And unfortunately "Bag of Bones," which premieres Sunday night on A&E, falls into the second category. Although it is far from the worst King adaptation (would that be "Dreamcatcher"? "Lawnmower Man"?) it feels less like a ghost story than a dashed-together homage to the King oeuvre that's slow where it should be fast and fast where it should be slow.
Which is too bad, as it has an excellent cast whose talents are too quickly lost in the story. Pierce Brosnan plays Mike Noonan, a writer whose beloved wife Jo (Annabeth Gish) is abruptly killed, leaving him heartbroken and unable to write. Haunted by nightmares, the surprising possibility that Jo was not faithful and a general whiskey-fueled ennui, he heads up to their house on Dark Score Lake, which is, of course, in a Maine town by the same name filled with the predictable assortment of slightly off-kilter locals. There he meets Mattie (Melissa George), a young single mother embroiled in a custody battle with her wizened and clearly evil father-in-law, the requisite Old Rich Guy in the big house who has a crazy secret.