Sunday, 29 March 2009


“There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” – André Gide

On Sunday we watched a Johnny Depp film, the 2004 thriller “Secret Window”, directed by David Koepp. It is based on a Stephen King novel and is another of these films where one turns the brain off and spends 96 minutes vegetating on a little mindless escapist entertainment. I must admit that I like a good thriller or film noir, an intelligent horror movie, but cannot stand the “Friday 13th” type of drivel or “Nightmare on Elm St” type of horror flicks that are essentially produced for the pajama party or drive in crowd and calculated to produce the most screams per minute by scattering the most blood and gore across the screen per unit time.

Johnny Depp is not one of my favourite actors although he has been in many successful films. He tends to pout a lot in this film and spends a lot of time tousling his hair and looking like stunned rabbit. He also seems to sleep a lot (and not in his bed). The cast includes John Turturro, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton and Charles S. Dutton. They all act in a rather woodenish way and they are good caricatures of the typical suspense/thriller movie. The twists and turns of the plot are rather predictable and the ending is less than satisfying.

In short, the plot has as follows (don’t worry, I won’t give anything away by peppering it with spoilers): After a bitter separation from his wife (Maria Bello), the famed mystery writer Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) lives alone at his remote lake house. He is unexpectedly confronted there by a dangerous and mysterious stranger named John Shooter. Claiming Rainey has plagiarised his short story, the psychotic Shooter demands “justice”. When Shooter's demands turn to threats (and subsequently murder) Rainey turns to a private detective for help. But when nothing stops the horror from spiralling out of control, Rainey soon discovers he can't trust anyone or anything.

There is a very horrific scene in which a dead animal is featured, so if you are squeamish about it, then this is not the film for you. I disliked it particularly as it didn’t contribute to the story. The scene could have been easily deleted. Philip Glass was responsible for part of the score but “Psycho” it’s not, although there are some Hitchcock tributes in the film.

I got a bit sick of Depp and his hair very early on in the movie and his impression of a village idiot fails to satisfy. I got a few laughs out of the movie (unintentional, to be sure, the scenes were meant to be scary!) and watched till the end, even though it was quite lame. This is a B-grade TV flick to be seen during a pizza night with a few good friends and relaxing and joking about it. I would not go out of my way to find it and see it, but if its on TV, send out for a pizza and ring a couple of friends…

No comments:

Post a Comment