Beware of light Spoilers.
Being a big fan of the original SCoCDW, I was slightly optimistic about this adaptation and while I don’t feel that optimism was betrayed, I do feel that “slightly” was a good amount for this story.
Now, the acting and production values were stellar and I hope we get to see this cast and crew on other projects but I found the writing in this new version takes away what made the original such a compelling story.
Namely the human tragedy of the Ward family. In this adaptation, the father is negligent, the mother is dead, and Charles is doing his best Damien impression. In the original, Mr and Mrs Ward are living parents who encourage their son’s interests until it becomes dangerous while Ward is portrayed as a good-willed researcher who finds himself in over his head and drowns. It makes the ultimate fate of Charles a tragedy as his parents are forced to live with the aftermath.
There are other critiques. The introduction of more traditional Lovecraftian elements (the vast occult conspiracy that worships an unknowable entity) doesn’t have as much personality as the original’s smaller conspiracy of ancient Mafia-like Necromancers planning to use their abilities to accumulate enough knowledge to take over the world.
The removal and alteration of the original Curwen and his background robs the story of one of its great set pieces. The story of the FBI raid on the cult house just doesn’t have the same ring to it as a group of Revolutionary War era vigilantes deciding Curwen must be stopped.
There are other smaller writing fumbles that make this less of a good ride than the original but I do appreciate the effort the cast and crew to bring this story to life and felt they did the absolute best with the script they were given.
Overall, recommended as a good Lovecraftian story but not as a good adaptation of the source material.