Our editor-in-chief Nate Yapp is proud to have contributed to the new book Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks, edited by Aaron Christensen. Another contributors include Anthony Timpone, B.J. Colangelo, Dave Alexander, Classic-Horror.com's own Robert C. Ring and John W. Bowen. Pick up a copy today from Amazon.com!
Secret Window (2004)
If I had known this movie was based on a Stephen King story, I wouldn’t have gone. Basically, his movies are werewolf poo. Not that this is his fault, by the way. YOU try to cram 1000 pages into a quality hour and a half film. He couldn’t do it even with John Carpenter holding the camera (e.g. Christine). NO ONE can do it. Perhaps Satan could, but then we might have to sell our souls in exchange for a movie ticket. Quite frankly, I don’t need that kind of pressure. Especially as it would make me lose my appetite for the jumbo box of Snowcaps.
The film is about a divorced writer named Mort Rainey (played by Johnny Depp) who discovers that another writer (played by a goofy guy in a cowboy hat) claims that Mort plagiarized a story of his. The stories are absolutely identical except for the ending. How could two different writers write the exact same story? Why is the ending different? How do I get a piece of Depp-ass? *clears throat* Sorry, my inner voice was speaking too loud.
I will start out by saying Johnny Depp was perfectly cast for the role. But, quite frankly, I would say that if he was cast as a speed bump in "The Dukes of Hazard". The guy is just so fricking talented and can play everything perfectly. He made this movie bearable, and pushed it into the “slightly-above-average” category.
Now why would I say only slightly-above-average? Because, there were some huge problems. Let’s start with the pacing. Damn, did this movie go slow in parts. Obviously, it was not based on a Stephen King BOOK (as those movies move so fast that a determination of plot is like trying to find a contact lens while riding a freshly greased Tilt-a-Whirl). Instead it was based on a story, a SHORT story, which probably didn’t have enough plot to sustain a whole movie. So, I recommend bringing your own reading material to get through the slow parts. If you really want to be ironic, bring this story.
I have only one complaint with the script. The surprise end was entirely too obvious. Both my mom and I got it within 15 minutes of the opening credits. And, I know I’m good at guessing surprise endings, but this was just so glaring. Perhaps it would have been less painful if the director simply let a scrolling Storm Watch-esque text at the bottom of the screen. “We interrupt this movie to inform you that you already know the ending, so we respectfully ask that you cease thinking. Thank you. By the way, Red Sox 5…Yankees…suck...” (I saw it in a Boston theater, give me a break).
Yet, despite these flaws, I‘ve seen worse Stephen King flicks. The ending, though obvious, was still well directed. The whole concept of the movie wasn’t a bad one. And, Johnny Depp was worth his weight. Not bad for a “lazy weekend” rental, but entirely too forgettable.