A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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 ...
- In theaters: March 12, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: June 22, 2004
- Cast: John Turturro, Johnny Depp, Maria Bello
- Director: David Koepp
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence/terror, sexual content and language
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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