**/**** Image B+ Sound A- Extras A
starring Johnny Depp, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton, John Turturro
screenplay by David Koepp, based on the novella "Secret Window, Secret Garden" by Stephen King
directed by David Koepp
by Walter Chaw Secret Window is a checklist for Stephen King fans in exactly the same way his bloated fiction from the last ten years is a rehash of past material (and like old King material is a rehash of classic EC Comics/"Outer Limits" plots). It's an intensely wearying public window into how a popular writer has taken to auto-consumption and automatic regurgitation when inspiration flags. Typewriter intrigue? "Redrum"-like mantra? Curious wife? Lovable black sidekick dispatched with a hatchet à la Kubrick's The Shining? Check, all. Weird religious iconography, wide-brimmed Amish hats, some sort of sinister cornfield à la Children of the Corn? Surely. Popular writer tortured by an obsessive fan who wants him to write something special, à la Misery? You got it. Mysterious alter-ego nom de plume that appears to have been made manifest à la The Dark Half? Uh huh. Murdered pet and secluded woodland retreat à la Pet Sematary? Even that. Country mouse à la The Green Mile? Believe it or not. In fact, the only thing about Secret Window that doesn't stink of the King perpetual mimeograph machine (The Tommyknockers, "Ballad of the Flexible Bullet") is Johnny Depp's sly comic timing and the smooth direction by Stir of Echoes hyphenate David Koepp.