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Secret Window

Sony Pictures // PG-13 // April 24, 2007
List Price: $28.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Matthew Hinkley | posted May 1, 2007 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

"Secret Window" is yet another novel brought to the big screen from famed writer Stephen King. King has presented us with some incredible literature, but only on occasion are the movies up to par with his writing. "Secret Window" has some great moments and is definitely one of the better on-screen adaptations of the many Stephen King novels.

Mort (Johnny Depp) is a writer accused of plagiarism by an peculiar man known as Shooter (John Turturro). Shooter will stop at nothing to get his point across, whether it is verbal threats, physical threats, and even murder. In the midst of a messy divorce from his wife Amy (Maria Bello), Mort seeks help from a friend and private investigator Ken (Charles S Dutton). What used to be a peaceful lake house has now become too secluded and even a bit creepy.

Director David Koepp really wants to bring this Stephen King novel to the big screen with a bang. Knowing that he has to deal with a PG-13 rating, Koepp does a great job keeping us on the edge of our seats without a lot of gory detail. We all know Stephen King is a master at horror/thriller novels, which usually tend to have a lot of violence. Koepp dives into this more in his commentary, but it just seems fitting to discuss here. Koepp has had his fair share of more violent films, but decided to keep "Secret Window" fairly mild. He really has a great ability to take a movie mainly filled with dialogue and still keep us holding onto the edge of our seats, waiting for the ending to be revealed.

"Secret Window" has a great cast, lead by Johnny Depp, and a strong supporting character in John Turturro's Shooter. You can't help but laugh as Depp adds his quirky flavor throughout the film. Even when things turn and begin to become a little slow and dialogue heavy, Depp is there to pick us up and keep us thoroughly entertained by his little antics. Turturro on the other hand does a fantastic job as the creepy, dark, and sadistic Shooter. He really brings Shooter to life and makes us believe that some true evil resides inside of Shooter.

Sure..."Secret Window" is not the best Stephen King story out there. It probably isn't even in the top 5 of Stephen King's plethora of novels. But Koepp and the cast do a good job bringing it to the silver screen. The acting is great, and although it can be a bit dialogue heavy at times, we still get the heebie-jeebies throughout the film and really have to pay attention to try and figure out what is happening right before it ends!



"Secret Window" does have a lot going for it in the video department. With a very nice transfer, "Secret Window" is extremely visually appealing. The detail is great, colors are spot on, and skin tones are fantastic. There is just enough contrast so that it doesn't push us over to lose detail, and the blacks are very deep and rich. There are a couple times where there almost seems to be a focus issue--when things that should be in focus almost seem a little out of focus. Other than that though, "Secret Window" definitely keeps the mood when it comes to its video transfer.


Here we are offered a nice PCM Uncompressed 5.1 track and a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track. I really enjoyed this track, which has some really nice even dialogue. Especially considering that "Secret Window" is mainly filled with dialogue. There are some nice lows that fill the soundtrack and get us in the 'suspenseful' mood. We are presented with a very nice moody track that doesn't stray far from the dialogue, it is nice and even, and makes us continue to pay close attention to what is going on.

My only complaint, and this really shouldn't even be in this section (but I wanted it to be), is that Shooter's accent seems off. I don't know what it is about it but it didn't sound too much like a Mississippi accent. For the most part it was okay I guess, but there was just something about it that seemed too forced.


Directors Commentary: David Koepp takes us deep into the making of "Secret Window" telling us all about locations, shooting, digital effects, pacing of the film, and characters. He really has some nice detail on some of the shots that they did and how they were done with digital effects. One thing about his track is that he really presses on and on about dialogue, and how much there was...yes we've seen the movie and we know. After hearing him tell us there was a lot of dialogue 7 times I began to become a bit bored. But, I really respect him for opening himself up on the track. He takes a risk and tells people what he would change and how he would do it differently. I really enjoyed this aspect, and really loved hearing that he is only human and that he didn't make a "perfect" movie.

Deleted Scenes: Here we get 3 deleted scenes and 1 deleted/alternate-ending scene.

Featurettes: Here we get three features that are all fairly short in length. One, Book to Film, brings us deeper into how Stephen King's novel was taken to the big screen. The other two, A Look Through It & Secrets Revealed, both talk about the making of "Secret Window." I didn't find these two informative and really found myself learning the same things I learned in the commentary track.

Animatics: Here we get 4 animated storyboards showing us the vision of what the scenes were to look like.

Final Thoughts:

"Secret Window" is definitely not a great movie. It is a lot of fun to sit scare the wife a little...and just have a nice popcorn movie night. Though it sports a great video transfer, a very nice audio track, and some not-so-great extras, "Secret Window" makes for a good Rental.

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