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Secret Window

Even Mr. Depp can't keep this flick afloat

Based on the Steven King novella, director David Koepp's (Stir Of Echoes) Secret Window is the story of Morton Rainey (Johnny Depp), a recently separated, scruffy-faced, closet-smoking struggling author. Rainey's cabin in the woods proves the perfect site to write his next book, escape his wife and her new boyfriend, and to be stalked by a crazed lunatic from Mississippi named Shooter (John Turturro) all while going insane. Shooter confronts Rainey about a short story he claims Rainey plagiarized years ago and gives him three days to prove he published it first…or eeeeelse.

As with most terror tales of this sort, obstacles keep popping up that get between its protagonist and his goal. Very bad things start happening the deeper Rainey gets sucked into his little arrangement with Shooter. Mr. Depp, no stranger to the horror genre, is perfectly cast. However, he is more subtle and internal in this role than in his recent Oscar-nominated performance in Pirates of the Caribbean The dry humor, fear and weakness of Rainey are played with great range and complexity. His performance carries the entire film.

However, Secret Window's slow, eerie, and worthwhile 80-minute set up dissolves into a train wreck of poorly written and executed plot twists. Part Cape Fear, part Sixth Sense, it leaves the audience rolling their eyes with distaste. And Mr. Turturro, who cheeses out all over the place with a phony Southern drawl, gives a creepy, but ultimately un-scary, lackluster performance. Throw this one in the truck along with last summer's Identity.

Stars: 2 out of 5