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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Depp gives the X-Factor to Secret Window
It is rare that you see a film adaption which is so similar to the novel it is based on. I'll say that for Secret Window- it is very true to the book. This is a good thing- it is really frustrating when you are a fan of a novel and then it is completely changed when a film is made of it.
Johnny Depp, with his usual quirkiness, is perfectly cast as Mort Rainey. If...
Published on 11 Aug. 2004 by C. Blackburn

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good.... but no classic
Based on a Stephen King short story, Secret Window is a tightly plotted and highly self-contained movie which, as you might expect, excels at crafting tension and intrigue. Johnny Depp plays a writer who, after uncovering his wife's betrayal, retreats to his isolated lakeside cabin only to be confronted by a man who claims he stole the plot of his story.
John...
Published on 15 Dec. 2004 by Peter Chandler


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Depp gives the X-Factor to Secret Window, 11 Aug. 2004
By 
C. Blackburn "Psychology graduate" (England, UK.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Secret Window [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
It is rare that you see a film adaption which is so similar to the novel it is based on. I'll say that for Secret Window- it is very true to the book. This is a good thing- it is really frustrating when you are a fan of a novel and then it is completely changed when a film is made of it.
Johnny Depp, with his usual quirkiness, is perfectly cast as Mort Rainey. If another actor had had the part and not carried it off, it would have been an awful film. Mort's character is well defined and likeable. Although he is very much the central character and there are not that many other characters, and most of the film takes place in his house, the story does not get boring, drag, or feel unvaried. There is enough suspense and scary bits in the movie to keep you on the edge of your seat and wanting to know what happens to Mort in the end.
There are elements to the storyline that perhaps lack originality (for example, Mort conveniently is staying alone in a house in the middle of nowhere), although if you like soft horror/psychological drama films then you will enjoy this. It is not revolutionary- it is simply an entertaining film.
In response to what the other reviewer has written, I think a 12 rating was OK for this movie. It is not as frightening as some other cert 12 films I have watched (The Others, for example, scared me to death the first time I watched it. And I'm 18).
The reason I gave the film 4 stars instead of 5, was because of the twist in the ending. I think the concept of the twist was a good idea, although the way it was done I was not entirely happy with. I felt it was a little too over-the-top in the way it was portayed and perhaps a little left to the imagination would have been better. (This is hard to describe without giving away what happens- but if you watch it you'll see what I mean).
Nevertheless, the rest of the film is great, I will be buying it when it is released, and I would recommend it, especially to other fans of Johnny Depp (who is gorgeous in this movie, incidentally). If you liked Secret Window then I also recommend you read the novella by Stephen King. It is included in "Four Past Midnight".
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Secret Hit!, 4 Aug. 2004
This review is from: Secret Window [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This film tests your imagination to the limit, using special effects and a twisted story line you find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat all the way through.
Johnny Depp plays the leading role as Mort Rainy and successfully captures your heart instantly as you see his slowly shattering life. However as your bond with this character grows, dislike for another begins - John Shooter. This actor plays an excellent psychopath pushing your hatred towards him all the way until the Earth shaking twist at the end leaving you thoroughly confused as to who you like, and petrified as you leave the cinema.
My only quiery for this film is its rating. I feel sorry for the twelve year olds watching it and I hope that they have had a decent nights sleep afterwards! One more piece of advice is to think carefully about watching it if you are fond of dogs.
Overall this film is stunning with its shocking twists and turns and excellent acting - this will be a first on my Christmas list.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars marvelously complex & loaded with suspense, 31 Oct. 2007
By 
Mary Chrapliwy (NJ, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Secret Window [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I'm so surprised that there are a few negative reviews for this movie - this was one of the most enjoyable suspense movies I've ever seen. No, it's not a masterpiece, but it is excellent none-the-less.

Johnny Depp is fantastic at his portrayal of a depressed writer who lives out in the middle of the woods in an isolated cabin in a very isolated town. The man who appears on his doorstep looks like an ordinary man, but is extremely menacing in his straight-faced threats. That unwelcome visit is from a man claiming that Johnny Depp's character "stole my story." Those few chilling words set off a course of events that will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. Finally the end has such a marvelous twist.

This movie is very reminiscent of Hitchcock, very well acted, and well paced. It is definitely worth watching - we liked it so much we bought the DVD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good.... but no classic, 15 Dec. 2004
By 
Peter Chandler "hemlock_wolf" (Whitby, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Secret Window [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Based on a Stephen King short story, Secret Window is a tightly plotted and highly self-contained movie which, as you might expect, excels at crafting tension and intrigue. Johnny Depp plays a writer who, after uncovering his wife's betrayal, retreats to his isolated lakeside cabin only to be confronted by a man who claims he stole the plot of his story.
John Turturro is suitably menacing as the strange and sinister strange, but Depp's performance is occaisionally unconvincing. He does the disheveled writer well but doesn't seem quite so adept at playing the angered husband. The support cast are adequate but still somewhat lacklustre at times.
The biggest flaw is really in the plot. Although admittedly being tightly crafted and well self-contained, the twists at the film's denouement are all too obvious and take away a great deal from the intrigue and tension that the film relies upon. What's more this kind of psychological thriller has been done a good few times before and no doubt somewhat better too.
Still, John Turturro is a big plus point and the direction is well done, making the most of the isolation and anxiety but in the end it is, unfortunately, fighting a losing battle. It is far from terrible, but neither is it going to leave a particularly big impression once you've finished watching either.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just ........ Fab!, 3 Jun. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Secret Window [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I watched this movie because I knew Johnny Depp was in it and I am a HUGE fan of his. I have loved every one of hsis movies that I've seen and this one was no different. There are quite a lot of twists in this movie, maybe one that people don't see is at the beginning when we go through the mirror and see everything through Mort's (Johnny's character) point of view and then we come out at the end and see everything the way his wife see's it. The film can be kinda confusing towards the end coz through the beginning of the film, you're on Mort's side and you feel sorry for him, but then there's this twist and you feel horrible for being on his side in the beginning. The acting in this film is just opure brilliance. Johnny Depp was excellent as the lead (as usual!) and John Turturro was brilliant as the crazy psychopath claiming that Johnny's character Mort "stole ma story"
Just purebrilliance. The only things I would say is wrong with the film is the rating, I think it should definitely be 15 because there are some spooky, gross and confusing parts, but being 14 myself, I'm not really complaining! Definitely a must-see movie though. Johnny Depp is just......WOW!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Depp and David Koepp tackle Stephen King, 24 Jun. 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
I know that I read "Secret Window, Secret Garden," the Stephen King novella that was the basis for David Koepp's 2004 film, but I had no conscious memory of the story when I sat down to watch the movie. But either I remembered something deep down inside or it was a mistake to cast Timothy Hutton, who starred in movie version of King's "The Dark Half," in a supporting role in this film because I quickly got to the point where I was wondering if I was reading the film wrong simply because it seemed so obvious to me what was going on.
The main attraction here is Johnny Depp, because he is one actor who can be counted on never to do anything boring and whose flair for eccentricity and his devotion to odd roles is now being taken as a sign of genius. Depp plays Mort Rainey, a writer who is out in the woods in a cabin, starring at a poorly written opening paragraph that is not getting any better. It soon becomes clear that his writer's block is the result of the fact he is in divorcing proceedings with his wife, Amy (Maria Bello); the opening scene of the film shows us the heart of that trauma. Struggling to deal with these twin demons Rainey is confronted by the sudden appearance of John Shooter (John Turturro), a forbidding looking figure who accuses the writer of plagiarizing a story and demands he put things to rights.
Mort is conflicted about his marriage and has no idea what to do with the blank sheet of paper in his typewriter. He wants to be definite about having written the story "Secret Window," but apparently in his deep dark past he plagiarized a story once and given the state he was in when he wrote the story, there just might be something about Shooter's claim. Clearly Mort is at a crossroads where his future could well be in peril (Come on, this is a Stephen King story; this guy is toast).
Depp's performance is captivating. It has to be, because he has a lot of scenes where it is just him and his blind dog or the mirror on the wall. But do not neglect the work of screenwriter-director Koepp ("Panic Room"), which you are not really going to be able to appreciate until the second time you watch "Secret Window" (in between watch the featurettes where the director give some key insights into what he was trying to do with the film). I would probably have liked this film more if I had gotten so far ahead of the curve, but I am still impressed with the craftsmanship of the lead actor and the director
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Formulaic but diverting suspense thriller, 23 Sept. 2004
By 
Darren Harrison "DVD collector and reviewer" (Washington D.C.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Secret Window [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Secret Window is classic Stephen King, not in the sense that it will ever be immortalized as a masterpiece of cinema or revered by movie fans for its pace and direction. No this movie (based on the King story) is classic in the sense that so many of the elements of this story have already appeared in other works from the horror maestro. Throughout the movie shades from both `The Shining' and `The Dark Half' abound and ultimately detract from the presentation with a distinct sense of déjà vu and `they did it better in...' pervading the movie.
The story centers around a washed up writer Mort Rainey (played by Johnny Depp) consumed in alcohol and depression over a failed marriage and writers block who is shocked by the arrival of a stranger who accuses him of stealing his story (the `Secret Window' of the title). Things get worse for Mort as Shooter becomes increasingly violent and Rainey slips deeper into paranoia and insanity before a shocking climax. Depp does his best with the material he is given and this movie at times comes close to creating some real chilling scenes. John Turturro also turns in a memorable performance as John Shooter and Maria Bello elicits a great deal of sympathy as Morts (soon-to-be) ex-wife Amy, a character wracked with uncertainty about stepping out after the shelter of married life.
Supporting performances by Timothy Hutton and Charles Dutton are both admirable, if both the characters they portray are slim on actual characterization and Len Cariou turns in a surprisingly good performance as Sheriff Newsome.
Good for fans of the genre and people looking to be mildly entertained, just don't go in expecting to be particularly surprised by anything.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay thriller, Not Subtle Enough, 4 July 2011
By 
This review is from: Secret Window [DVD] (DVD)
Johnny Depp plays a successful writer who discover's his wife is having an affair. Six months later he is still trying to coming to terms with the split and is struggling to get on with his new novel at a lovely lonely lake side cabin. He is then accosted by a stranger wanting recompense for a book he claims Depp plajourised. Things then start to spiral out of control and get some what wild.

Its not a bad thriller that winds up the pace nicely, it is in a great setting, all the lose ends are tidied up and has some nice twists. However overall the tension evaporates as one of the twists was quite easy to spot. I wonder if you're supposed to spot it but it would seem better if you didn't. Some elements could also have been rounded off better like one famous Stephen King like element (ah I see its a Stephen King adaptation!).

Johnny Depp is great as usual and he probably got the film an extra star from me. I wouldn't recommend rushing out to buy it but if it turns up on the TV and you're free its worth a watch. Now knowing its a King I wish I'd read the short story first.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great adaption, 11 May 2009
By 
Dr Evil (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
`Secret Window' is based on the novella `Secret Window, Secret Garden' from the collection Four Past Midnight written by the master of horror Stephen King. It tells the tale of Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp), an author who after his wife has an affair and leaves him, he moves to their remote lake house to work on his new book. One day a stranger named John Shooter knocks on his door claiming that Mort has stolen his story and he will terrorise him until he can prove otherwise.

I love the novella - it is actually one of my favourite short stories by Stephen King - and this film adaption is so well made, it is also one of my favourite King adaptations too. Depp plays the role of Mort perfectly, throwing a bit of comedy into what otherwise is a fairly dark and sinister tale. Who plays Shooter is genuinely very creepy and unpredictable. The plot sticks close to the books, not much has been changed and all the better for it. If you've not read the novella you'll not likely to see what's coming at the end of the film as there is a clever twist that surprised me when I read it and was a shock for my friend who watched this with me who had never read the book.

The Blu Ray transfer is excellent - no graininess and very sharp and clear picture. The sound is very crisp and has been converted brilliantly.

Overall this is a great story that is very exciting and suspenseful and has been over-looked by most but should definitely be watched if you enjoy thrillers or are a fan of Stephen King and I definitely recommend it.

MOVIE - 4/5
PICTURE -5/5
SOUND - 5/5
OVERALL - 4/5
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Depp deserves an award, 2 Mar. 2005
This review is from: Secret Window [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This movie looked kind of silly in the ad, but I rented it later because I was bored and I was very entertained. the movie is powerful and twisting. They need to make more movies on stephen king novels.
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Secret Window [DVD] [2004]
Secret Window [DVD] [2004] by David Koepp (DVD - 2004)
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