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Desperation
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Reviews & Ratings for
Desperation (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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119 out of 140 people found the following review useful:

For anyone who read the book before seeing the movie.

8/10
Author: cristinacorman from United States
24 May 2006

Besides a mediocre performance from Tom Skeritt this adaptation of Steven Kings 600+ page novel is up to par with some of his best big screen productions. Each scene is expertly crafted right out of the pages of Desperation (probably due to the fact that King wrote the screenplay). The police precinct including the desk and each cell seemed as if it were pulled straight from the novel itself. The characters appearances and each detail down to the smiley face on the bag of marijuana that lands Peter and Mary in the slammer were constructed with sheer perfection. If you read the book you'll notice that they changed little things to get with the times, like the hitchhikers shirt instead of being Pete Tesh is Bob Dylan, and there's a small reference towards the end to Donald Rumsfeld and Adam Sandler.

When I saw that there was going to be a TV movie version of this book I was worried because of the graphic sequences needed to do Desperation justice. I was not disappointed. The animal sequences were the most impressive, with vultures and dogs standing as an animal army together. The scene where the dogs line the road for miles was one of the eeriest animal sequences King has ever incorporated in a film (Others including: Cujo, The Night Flyer, etc.).

In my opinion no one was more suited for the role of Collie Entragian than Ron Perlman, he gave the best performance in the entire production in my opinion (not to insult Steven Webber). Though Tom Skeritt wasn't as good as he could have been, he was still the perfect person for his role. Skeritt just didn't come off as an asshole as well as he should have. Everyone else was good, down to the Chinese actors who had absolutely no lines.

In summary if you read the book you will like this movie the only thing that wasn't in the movie was the tree-house that David went to in his mind (not necessarily a bad thing). The director did great job of filling in the viewer on loose ends throughout the film, and it is a strict adaptation of the novel. I've heard critics comment on his use of left wing ideology in this screenplay but I have no idea what they're talking about, maybe I'm just not politically coherent enough to understand, but I feel that the movie deserves the recognition as a horror movie over that of political satire.

Thank you so much for reading my opinion I appreciate you taking the time of day to observe what I have to say.

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51 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

Not Bad At All

7/10
Author: tytianacs from United States
23 May 2006

I just viewed the 'made for TV' movie and I thought that it was pretty good! I read both books over ten years ago and considering, it turned out to be better than I had expected, although I thought that the second book (The Regulators) was much better than the first (Desperation)! Ron Perlman was excellent (as usual!) along with Tom Skerritt. The supporting cast were pretty good also (Charles Durning and Matt Fewer were somewhat 'under used'). I was also quite impressed with how they stuck with the religious 'tone' of the story seeing how sensitive that people are nowadays. But all in all, it kept my 13 year old son 'glued' to the 'set after I explained the first and second book to him.

It doesn't compare to "The Stand" which I found absolutely fantastic but for a three hour film, it holds it's ground! Like myself and my son, we are hoping that Mr. King already have the follow-up, "The Regulators" already in the works. And if you haven't read both books yet, now would be a good time to find these 'gems' and read them. Trust me, you will not be able to put them down! King at his finest!!!!

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45 out of 77 people found the following review useful:

Worth-wild supernatural horror, not to be missed by King fans!

8/10
Author: AngryChair from Brentwood, USA
23 May 2006

Well-done television adaptation of the Stephen King horror novel proves not only to be quite faithful to the novel, but an enjoyable treat for any horror fan.

Folks driving through rural Nevada are being captured by a crazed policeman, but something far more evil is at work in the town of Desperation.

Director Mick Garris is no stranger to the works of author Stephen King, in fact I believe this is his sixth film adaptation of one of King's stories. Between Garris directing and King himself having written the screenplay, Desperation comes off as a very faith adaptation that also keeps the same sense of suspense and bizarre atmosphere of the novel. It's a completely gripping tale that benefits from a mysterious set-up and some likable characters. The filming locations, music, and special FX (which are occasionally gory) are all excellent.

The cast is also quite good. Tom Skerritt, Annabeth Gish, and Steven Weber turn in good performances as some unlikely heroes. Ron Perlman is terrifically creepy as our warped villain. However the greatest performance of all is that of young Shane Haboucha as a spiritually-guided young victim.

All-around, Desperation is a solidly done horror-thriller that delivers on all fronts. A must-see for Stephen King fans.

*** out of ****

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46 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

Possibly the worst Stephen King film ever

1/10
Author: izazael from Australia
28 October 2006

This has to be, by far, the worst movie adaptation of a Stephen King book ever, and that's definitely saying something.

The script is absolutely terrible, with the characters saying some of the most unbelievable and bizarre comments that I've ever heard. The acting is sufficiently B grade for a bad horror film, and the plot fantastically predictable.

One of the most painful things about the movie is the complete lack of a connection between the actors or characters. Where you expect an emotional connection between two characters, there always seems to be a void -- especially between the mother and her son, and the couple in the car. Even when the script indicates a strong emotional connection, there is no spark between the actors.

Like with most Stephen King adaptations, the storyline skips ahead rapidly in parts, with characters discussing issues which were introduced in the book but omitted in the movie -- so they come as a complete surprise, or just as a confusing side remark that leaves the audience wondering where the heck it suddenly came from. Unless you've read the book, it can make for a disorienting experience.

Unless you're an absolute masochist, steer clear of this one -- there's absolutely no value in it.

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18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

The book gets 10 stars, the movie gets 1 - Complete garbage

1/10
Author: Blacklock22 from North Chelmsford, MA
24 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just finished reading almost 700 great pages of "Desperation" and was excited to see how it would look as a movie. I knew going in that it would most likely be changed and watered down a bit since it was made-for-TV, but I thought the extent of that would be no foul language (since in the book there's a ton of it) and less gore. Let me tell ya... There was a LOT more wrong than just that. Where to begin... So much was changed that it would be impossible to touch on all of it so I guess I'll just talk about the things that bothered me most.

The first half hour I have to say was not so bad aside from the bad camera angles (a lot of worms-eye-view shots), the stale acting and the cheesy "made-for-TV" look it had overall. It was a lot less dark and eerie than I pictured in my head, and they sort of rushed through everything and made minor changes here and there but those things were to just keep it current since the book was written 10 years ago and also they needed to speed things up based on the time they had for the film. So far, not a major upset. I can live with those things.

But then out of nowhere... Are you kidding me?

First of all, in the book the kid David had this entire back-story about his friend Brian almost dying and it was literally one of the most important back drops for the entire thing - they cut it out. Instead they showed his friend get hit by a car and David crying over him and that was that. Because that whole story line was cut out they also had to change the ending because the ending was based on something that happened there and MAN did they cheese up the ending by putting David's yearbook with a picture of Johnny and Pie in it. I almost lost it.

They cut out one character all together, Audrey who was a MAJOR character in the middle of the story which helps the people figure out what's going on. Instead of having her in the story they just gave Tom (the old drunk who lived in Desperation) more lines to describe things and keep the audience up to speed although it was still way confusing if you didn't read the book. Also, They didn't show them trying to escape and the road being blocked, which if I didn't read the book I'd be like, "what the hell is your problem, just drive out of town, why are you still there?"

What really bothered me though, is this - David had these voices he heard, which were meant to be the voice of God. In the movie it was his dead sister talking to him. And one of the coolest parts of the book is when David is passed out and goes up to the land of the dead in his dream and sees a guy in a NY Yankees hat. The guy in the hat tells him the story of the evil going on in Desperation and tells him that he needs to carry out God's work. When he wakes up, Johnny tries to leave and leaves his wallet behind. In going through Johnny's wallet he sees an old picture of Johnny back in Viet Nam and realizes that the guy talking to him in heaven was Johnny when he was younger. He also realizes that back in the day with his pal Brian (who they barely mentioned like I said) they named their tree house the "Viet Cong Lookout" which is where Johnny was killed. It all came together in a really cool way like an episode of Lost and was the coolest thing about the book and NONE OF IT HAPPENED in the movie. Instead, his dead sister showed him the LAMEST silent movie in the projection room of the theater to tell him the story of why the evil exists, and then for some reason he just "knows" he has to finish God's work. Terrible.

There was so much more that was left out or changed too but I'll be here all day if I go over them all. This movie was God awful. And the worst part is, if I try to tell someone how good the book is and they've seen the movie they're gonna be like, "oh yeah, I saw that on TV. That was pretty bad, no thanks." I mean, that's what I would say if I were them.

It's amazing to me that Stephen King actually did this Teleplay based on his own book. The book had almost 700 pages and the movie covered about 100 of them and then made up another new 100. If you haven't seen this movie version of "Desperation" then I say you should definitely read the book if you like Stephen King novels. Just for the love of God, stay away from the movie. The movie makes me want to drop-kick someone in the forehead. So corny. So lame.

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20 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

A Movie Divided In Two Parts

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
25 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While driving through the Nevada desert to Salt Lake, the couple Peter Jackson (Henry Thomas) and his wife Mary (Annabeth Gish) are stopped by sheriff Collie Entragian (Ron Pealman) because their car has no license plate in the back. When they open the trunk to get some tools, Collie finds a package of marijuana and arrests the couple, becoming insane and abusive, and the couple claims that they have stolen the car. While driving to the jail of Desperation, the terrified couple sees corpses everywhere in the town; in the entrance of the police station, they see the body of a young girl, and the sheriff shoots and kills Peter. In the jail, Mary sees a couple and their religious son David Carver (Shane Haboucha) and an old local, Tom Billingsley (Charles Durning). Meanwhile the deranged sheriff arrests the successful and arrogant writer John Edward Marinville (Tom Skerritt) that is traveling in his motorcycle through the country promoting lectures. John gives a troubled and jammed call in his cellular to his assistant Steve Ames (Steven Weber), who is following him in a support trunk with the hitchhiker Cynthia Smith (Kelly Overton). When the group of survivors escapes from the jail and meets Steve and Cynthia, David discloses that one hundred and fifty years ago, a group of Chinese slaves released in the cave-in, an earth demon "waisin" called Tak, or the unformed heart. When the mine collapsed, all of them died, but something came out of the mine. The group under the leadership of David and under the protection of God decides to battle against the pagan god Tak and get the world free of his evil.

"Desperation", as most of the adaptations of Stephen King to the screen, is irregular and may be divided in two parts: the creepy first one is excellent, with Ron Pealman perfect and scary in the role of the common man possessed by a very evil and powerful fiend. When his character vanishes, the story comes downhill, with the weak and expressionless Shane Haboucha performing a strong character that should be the counterpoint to the sheriff, but actually is terrible. Tom Skerritt also seems to be miscast, since the does not fit exactly to the description of Steve Ames. Anyway, "Desperation" is intriguing and above average in the genre, but had potential to be better and better. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Desespero" ("Desperation")

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24 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

More of a Rough Draft

1/10
Author: toilet_poodle from United States
24 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I thought the pseudo-theology presented here was unbelievable, unconvincing and TAKed together badly. If you read the book, maybe you can help me patch things together, because the movie certainly didn't. What is TAK? As a deity, he's pathetic. You can go to his home and blow it up... most gods don't have an actual residence, or talk to you in electronic-sounding colloquialisms. Too bad his, umm, hole got violated though. Are all animals pretty much subject to him, indiscriminately? Is he based on ANYTHING at all? Native American? What did the 2 Chinese miners have to do with him? Did they simply unleash him and get taken over, was TAK supposed to be of Asian origin? Did they bring him there? What? Why were there dead bodies everywhere, but that select little group (unharmed) in the jail? Why not just kill them right away? How does it make sense to kill the little girl and leave the grown-ups alive? I was waiting to see what the predictable group of strangers had in common, but there wasn't anything. "Collie Entragian" - I thought maybe that name was supposed to be a clue, or a joke I didn't get. Still not sure... Another great name was "Pie," the soap-carrying ghost sister. David seemed like a sad Christian reincarnation of (what's his name, the kid from the Shining). What's with Stephen King and his fixation on kids with eerie powers and pseudo-divine connections anyway (Shining, Pet Sematary, Firestarter)? And will he ever just get over himself, and do something that does not involve a writer as a main character? Doesn't this seem a bit recycled?

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Decently made, harshly edited, good cast....I have read the book so bear with me...

7/10
Author: Robert W. (Robert_duder@hotmail.com) from Ontario, Canada
30 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have read Desperation...twice...one of my favorites but unfortunately that means my expectations for this LONG awaited film adaptation were through the roof. And once you have read the book you have a whole new set of expectations for the film counterpart. That being said it was pretty well done for being compacted into two hours (three with commercials.) Much of the real meat and potatoes of the book had to be cut to give us the basics of what Desperation was all about. It's the best King film in a long time reminiscent of his eighties and nineties classic adaptations such as It, The Stand, and even Storm of The Century. King's stories are ultimately about isolation, that feeling of being all alone in the world against a supernatural terror and Desperation captures that fairly well.

Steven Weber, who I really like, joins his second Stephen King cast (the first one being the extremely well done The Shining mini-series.) Weber plays "roadie" Steve Ames. Weber is a strong actor and he could easily lead the cast but he fits in well and although his role is downplayed from the book he is a great addition to the cast. Tom Skerritt plays aging egotistical writer John Edward Marinville. Now when I saw his name attached to this role I didn't think he could do it. Marinville is a tough guy, a rough around the edges adventurer and I thought Skerritt couldn't pull it off and I will be the first to eat my words because Skerritt is excellent!! This may be one of his best roles certainly on Television. He is exactly the right person for this role. TV actress Annabeth Gish plays Mary Jackson. Her role is toned down as well from the book but still she does a lot and does well with what they give her character. She's a strong, independent female who ends up with the most terror around her but she fights her way back. I was also very hesitant about believing Ron Perlman could play the larger than life insane killer cop Collie Entragian, and again I eat my words. He is perfect!! He does look enormous and strong and completely crazy when he belts out "TAK!" Coincidentally EXACTLY how I felt about the book...I wanted Entragian to be in it more, I wanted him to last longer. He was the perfect adversary. Young TV Actor Shane Haboucha steals the show as religiously connected and enlightened David Carver. He is no stranger to acting but still this really put him at the forefront of the cast and he does very well. He holds his own against veteran Tom Skerritt on numerous occasions. Kelly Overton is kind of the scream queen of Desperation...stumbling on dead bodies and horrific scenes and belting out her petrified screams. Her romance with character Steve Ames (played by Weber) is toned down but you still get a connection between them which I think is really important to the story. Sylva Kelegian plays Ellie Carver whose best performance is after Tak takes over her body. She is good as the Mom and then the killer which shows her versatility as an actress. Matt Frewer who I immediately recognized from Honey I Shrunk The Kids, but is well known for his immense work in animation is okay as the Carver father Ralph. His role is almost non-existent, he barely has lines and any emotions he does have he comes across as whiny and scared. But for what they gave him in the role he does alright. Charles Durning plays the elder of the group Tom Billingsley and he looks the part but his character is more or less cut down to virtually nothing much like Ralph Carver. Sammi Hanratty is appropriately creepy as Pie Carver, David's little sister, murdered by Entragian but returns as a spirit to help save them all.

Mick Garris is NO stranger to King films, this being his 5th I believe?? He has done some really great work with King including the aforementioned Shining Mini Series, The Stand, and Sleepwalkers. King also actually penned the script for this TV adaptation which I am convinced saves this from being utter crap because at least King knows the characters intimately and knows what could be cut. I am sure that he would have liked to have had more included as well. What is left in is an interesting, perversive and violent horror flick that does put you in the edge of your seat numerous times. I was really surprised (not un-pleasantly about the religious undertone of the film. The characters especially David Carver talk a lot about faith and God and although King always has a bit of a religious tone to his books in one form or another this film especially really does preach a faith driven message. Some say that hurts the film I don't agree at all!! I think Stephen King is a brilliant writer and philosopher even if he doesn't mean to. I think that after reading the book it just feels so quick and adapted down to virtually nothing. It is indeed bare bones compared to the novel. I hate to compare the film to the novel but it's hard not to do especially when the novel is one of your favorites. If you don't read King but you love his films then you must see Desperation because it's a throwback to when he made really great adaptations and not the drivvle that's been appearing lately (Riding The Bullet.) Now if we could convince King and Garris to make Insomnia I'd be a happy man!! 7.5/10

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Strange thriller-god involved movie

6/10
Author: sword_stelios from Greece Thessaloniki
12 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I haven't read the book which is an adaptation of Stephen King to the screen so I can't tell you how close to it this film is. However there are many blanks and failures in the plot which can make you really confused and angry with it.

But what stroke me most was the fact that it was the first movie I've ever seen which is called thriller and involves god and religion so much at times that you feel you are watching an informative show about religion being led by a 15 years old boy who seems to know the gist but gets entangled at the same time.

What really annoyed me was that stupid correlation with TAK "god" which makes ordinary people wonder "this film involves the god we all know with... ghosts(!) (are there any ghosts really?) and other(!) gods (exept the one we think that only exists?).. Personally I got irritated by all these.. Of course it's just a film and we are not supposed to believe in anything, but when you realize that it is reality and widely accepted truths that are mixed with myths and ridiculous lies you reasonably get furious...

Lastly, I want to add the fact that just when you relax and "travel" with all these theological issues that unfold at specific points, you get upset with quick and abrupt turns (where blood, horrible faces, corpses and nasty voices occur). You can say "Hey! it's a thriller, what did you expected?". Well, OK I agree! It's just that jumble with "fragile" issues like faith that I hate most! On the other hand, I feel obliged to highlight the incredibly excellent performance of that young actor Shane Haboucha - David which captivated me! The only reason I give that rate to the movie is for that boy! Perhaps I'm not the best person to judge actors but I found pretty amazing how well he acted and performed such a complicated and emotion-filled role!

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17 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

It was going so well...

4/10
Author: Abhiroop Ghosh from United States
14 December 2006

So I am a big fan of Stephen King novels and movies alike and there is rarely a time i argue about a movie that deviates from a book. I haven't read the book before I watched the movie and still there was something very off about it. I should have been aware that Stephen King movies like to keep a low profile on the movie synopsis and it was a treat to see how well this movie started off. It was good... till the lead up to the conclusion. I couldn't help but comment on Ron Pearlman's character (and obviously the actors acting that brought the character to life. Had a good suspense and definitely an attention grabbing flow to the movie. But the ending... it seemed rushed.. there was too many questions and there was never a proper explanation (hell there was no explanation) for this... this... weird phenomena. Of course considering its something like another portal and supernatural but there was never really a very good connection between the questioning of faith in God and this bizarre incident. The ending was waay too rushed and the cool setup of "Tack" by Pearlman suddenly became a big time wuss... this movie would have made it to a 5 had it not disappointed me so much with the conclusion... Still its a movie anyone can enjoy and of course not all would find it as disappointing as I did.

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