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‘Stephen King’s Bag of Bones’ best left buried

Pierce Brosnan stars as novelist mourning death his wife — hanging out with her ghost — “Stephen King’s Bag Bones.”

Pierce Brosnan stars as a novelist mourning the death of his wife — and hanging out with her ghost — in “Stephen King’s Bag of Bones.”

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Two-part miniseries,
8 to 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday on A&E

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Updated: January 12, 2012 8:04AM

‘Stephen King’s Bag of Bones” is a bag of something, and it ain’t bones. Based on King’s 1998 thriller (which I trust is better than the two-part miniseries starting Sunday on A&E), “Bag of Bones” boils down to a hokey horror story that relies on cheap tricks — nightmares! sudden bursts of loud music! animal in the attic! — to deliver most of its chills. Worse yet, some of the characters are so cartoonish, they’re more “Scooby-Doo” than Cujo.

The ghost story stars Pierce Brosnan as best-selling novelist Mike Noonan, who’s having a hard time coping with the sudden death of his wife and muse, Jo (Annabeth Gish).

In an attempt to get over his writer’s block and resolve a nagging question about his dead spouse, Noonan heads to the couple’s vacation home on Dead Score Lake in Maine. Here, he has company, namely the spirit of his deceased wife. She likes to communicate from the afterlife by ringing moose bells and spelling out cryptic messages in letter magnets on the fridge.

Why can’t ghosts be more straightforward?

Why does Brosnan’s character have an accent while his brother sounds as American as Uncle Sam?

These mysteries remain unsolved.

Jo Noonan isn’t the only ghost hanging around the lakehouse. It’s also haunted by one of the few intriguing characters in the story: Sara Tidwell (Anika Noni Rose of “Dreamgirls”). Tidwell is a blues singer from the 1930s. We learn she has good reason to sing the blues, and her past has a lot to do with what’s happening in the present.

While Noonan is trying to crank out a novel and communicate with havoc-wreaking ghosts, he finds himself in the middle of an inane child custody battle involving the town’s widowed hottie and a rich old man, Max Devore.

Devore and his creepy female sidekick — she may be 90 but she can still throw a mean punch — are portrayed as such villains, they’re comical. I laughed out loud when I saw them glowering from the window of their mansion. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to be funny.

I also had to suppress a few chuckles watching Brosnan flailing around the forest, fending off evil in his countless nightmares. Doesn’t seem dignified to make James Bond do this. (Brosnan, while a very fine actor, is also a tad long in the tooth for this role.)

“Bag of Bones” isn’t completely devoid of suspense, but it’s a lot less satisfying than many other, far superior King adaptations.

Bag it and watch “Misery” instead.

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