starring Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton, Charles S. Dutton and Len Carious
written and directed by David Koepp
This is another adaptation of a Stephen King horror story, this time based on his story “Secret Window, Secret Garden.” Even before seeing Stephen King’s name in the opening credits, though, I could tell from the first frames of the movie that it was King-related. There is something about the way it looked that gave it away - small town, rural upstate New England, or the way the light is filtered through the camera lens, or the cheap production values that sometimes make King movies look like Made for TV movies. That disappoints me because I hate Stephen King. He is such a bad writer and his stories are so utterly boring. I rented this video because of Johnny Depp, because I think he is one heck of a good actor.
The premise is one we have seen before in King stories: fictional characters come to life. Only in this case the character, John Shooter, is the malicious Mr. Hyde alter ego to Depp’s character’s Dr. Hyde. In a state of somnambulism Depp becomes a murderer with no waking memory of his other activities. This is supposed to be horror writing? Boring! Just from the point of view of screenwriting, however, Secret Window is much better and more sophisticated than Alien Vs. Predator. But it cannot stand up to AVP’s entertainment power.
Depp plays a writer estranged from his adulterous wife. He takes refuge in their cottage in the countryside while she lives in their city home. He has writer’s block and goes to seed terribly. In this condition he dreams up John Shooter and turns the name in his imagination into “shoot her.” So he kills his estranged wife and her lover. But what’s so horrible about that? It sounds like a nice dream to me.