Secret Window 2004

Critics score:
46 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Depp putters around in one of his wife's old bathrobes, allowing clues to fall out of the pockets like crumpled used tissues, which is exactly what they and the movie most resemble. Read more

Connie Ogle, Miami Herald: It wants to be surprising but merely grows foolish. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: [Depp] turns Secret Window into a pleasantly show-offy showcase for his own charisma. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: A clever, tense thriller that loses steam toward the end. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: [I]t's so refreshing to see a thriller that doesn't compromise itself with a pat Hollywood ending. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Secret Window, a hack job patched together from bits of Stephen King's earlier, better stories, is such a cheeseball it ultimately subverts even Depp's considerable charm and talent. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: A second helping would be hard to justify were it not for Depp, whose manic idea of comedy seems right for a Stephen King thriller. Read more

Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times: Pitched between horror and comedy, Secret Window turns out to be neither terribly scary nor especially funny. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: The plot certainly has possibilities, but far too many of them are botched by writer-director David Koepp, who's a better writer than director. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: This uneven psychological thriller has its share of chills, but Depp and Turturro are a hoot. Read more

Paul Clinton (, This is Depp's film from beginning to end, and he's fascinating to watch. Read more

Michael Booth, Denver Post: Not even Depp can quite save the relentless obviousness and preposterous turns. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: The story roots around dutifully in by-now-familiar SK notions of real life being stranger than fiction. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: To watch Johnny Depp act in anything is always a treat. But does it have to be the only treat going? Read more

Philip Wuntch, Dallas Morning News: [Koepp] manages some compelling creepy-crawly moments and captures the wintry mood of Mr. King's small-town upstate New York setting. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: The ultimate test of one's tolerance for King's self-aggrandizing postulations about writer's block, obsessive fans and the potentially frightening manifestations of the writer's id. Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: There are contrivances of convenience in Secret Window, all of which keep the movie from ending too soon. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Koepp keeps the suspense going. And amazingly he does it with a minimum of violence and special effects, relying instead on such old-fashioned ideas as character, atmosphere and the occasional, time-honored, bump in the night. Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: It's a slight story to begin with, and the movie teeters on camp with its jokey filler material. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Has no story, no ending and no redeeming value. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: Mr. Depp demonstrates once again that he never disappoints as an actor, even in something as fraudulent as Secret Window. Read more

Elvis Mitchell, New York Times: Johnny Depp's performance as a trebly beset writer is the highlight of this underwhelming suspense thriller based on a Stephen King novella. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: All the corn pone in Mississippi can't make this go down like anything but year-old grits. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: The standout is John Turturro, who makes Shooter a terrifying individual. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Somewhere in the middle of [King's] range storywise, and toward the top in Depp's performance. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, The story is so basic that it makes a fine template for an exercise in style, and Koepp layers on the details with great relish. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: An eerie, playful thriller and an all-around entertaining time at the movies. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Hitchcock would have loved it. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: The rising dread is hobbled by a huge impediment: The story doesn't make a lick of sense. Read more

Derek Adams, Time Out: Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: A potent psychological thriller bolstered by strong performances and an offbeat sense of humor. Read more

David Rooney, Variety: Read more

Dennis Lim, Village Voice: Adapted from a Stephen King novella, the film lurches tiredly through the author's favorite masochistic-narcissistic fantasy, subjecting a woebegone writer to a gauntlet of abuse. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: [Koepp's] up against an insurmountable problem -- lifeless source material. Read more