Secret Window

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Secret Window Movie Poster Image
It all feels recycled and re-recycled.
  • PG-13
  • 2004
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 19 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Extreme and graphic violence. Peril.


Sexual references and situations, including adultery.


Some very strong language for a PG-13.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink and smoke, reference to alcohol abuse.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has a great deal of tension, peril, and graphic violence, with grisly dead bodies. Characters are injured and killed. An animal is killed and a house is torched. There are sexual references and situations, including adultery. Characters smoke and drink, and there is a reference to alcohol abuse. There is some very strong language for a PG-13.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by7kzavala February 12, 2019

I've been watching this movie since I was 5.

I'm now 17 but when I was 5 I really loved this movie. It may be too violent for some. That's why I said 8+
Parent Written bylouisesecret December 21, 2014

Scary film

I enjoyed it, I like many thrillers that Johnny Depp is in. I don't think it is suitable for my children however, not until they are much, much older (they... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byIronwallabinga October 20, 2020

Great plot twist and interesting story

Definitely a lot of deaths that will make you cringe (in a good way) and Jonny Depp does a fantastic job with his character.
Kid, 12 years old October 31, 2018

Surprising Thriller with Great Acting from Depp

Secret Window all feels too much like Misery for the first half of the film, and isn't extremely intriguing, but then whop, just like that, there's a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on Stephen King's book, SECRET WINDOW centers on horror writer Morty (Johnny Depp). Living in a remote cabin after splitting with his wife, Morty mostly mopes and sleeps. He loves his puppy and he literally won't hurt a mouse. But he can't seem to get back to work. The best he can do is delete what he has already written. And then there is a knock at the door. Enter the villain, a menacing man in a broad preacher's hat, who says that his name is John Shooter (John Turturro) and that Morty has stolen his story. All of the traditional thriller elements follow: the red herring, the seemingly ineffectual sheriff and the seemingly powerful ally, the property damage, the shocking deaths, the framing of the hero for the crimes, the creepy music, the tight close-ups that keep us from knowing what's outside the frame, and of course, the a-ha moment.

Is it any good?

There are a couple of tingly reveals and creepy fake-outs, but overall it's just too familiar. It all feels recycled and re-recycled. Depp is always watchable and he seems to be enjoying Morty's long solo scenes as a sort of on-camera acting exercise. John Shooter tells Morty that his story needs a better ending. So does this movie.

We know what scares Stephen King: That most prolific of writers is still terrified by an empty computer screen, or, even worse, a screen with writing that is irreparably bad. And that author whose imagination has kept millions of happily terrified readers up all night is still scared of losing control of that imagination or having it disappear completely. That's what Secret Window brings to mind.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the clues that indicate what the final twist will be, including the very first scene and the scene in the bathroom. Why is it important that Morty had a past experience with a charge of plagiarism?

Movie details

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