Author Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) has some problems. He is in the middle of an ugly divorce and he has terrible writer’s block. With the arrival of John Shooter (John Turturro) to claim that Rainey had stolen his story, Mort’s life slowly slides out of control.
The movie is based upon the Stephen King short story “Secret Window, Secret Garden” in his Four Past Midnight collection and has the feel of a Stephen King novel throughout the movie. With a rating of PG-13, the blood and gore level is not as high as some of King’s other movie adaptations but there is a lot of suspense and several unusual twists.
Depp is as great as always. He takes on the role of an unkempt and mousey author with ease, easily conveying the fear of being stalked. John Turturo is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood. His performance here is terrific. His ability to be menacing while still being polite is creepy, and just what the role called for. The rest of the cast carry their weight well, but it is Depp and Turturo who shine.
There are no problems with the movie technically. The majority of the film takes place in a small rural cabin so there are no incredible special effects to look messy. The score builds suspense and compliments the action while never taking control and the editing is seamless.
Stephen King has been an almost endless source of material for Hollywood, much of it turned into marginal movies, but with some very good films included. This is one of the good ones.
Who should see this movie? Fans of Johnny Depp and John Turturo will love them here, as well as fans of Stephen King’s writing. There are a few funny moments, but this is a horror movie first, thriller second, and a drama third, so humor is not the reason to see it. A failed relationship is the only romance in the movie and the action is mostly offscreen (allowing the movie to get a PG-13 rating). If you are looking for a good suspenseful movie with a few good twists in the plot along the way, you will enjoy Secret Window. Overall it is a good date movie, especially if your date needs to hold onto you during the scary parts.