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Secret Window (2004)

PG-13  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  12 March 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 137,303 users   Metascore: 46/100
Reviews: 528 user | 192 critic | 34 from

A writer is accused for plagiarism by a strange man, who then starts haunting him for "justice."



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Karsch
Sheriff Dave Newsome
Joan Heney ...
Mrs. Garvey
John Dunn-Hill ...
Tom Greenleaf (as John Dunn Hill)
Fire Chief Wickersham
Matt Holland ...
Detective Bradley
Gillian Ferrabee ...
Fran Evans
Bronwen Mantel ...
Greta Bowie
Juliet Stoker
Kyle Allatt ...
Motel Manager


Mort Rainey is a successful writer going through a rather unfriendly divorce from his wife of ten years, Amy. Alone and bitter in his cabin, he continues to work on his writing when a stranger named John Shooter shows up on his doorstep, claiming Rainey stole his story. Mort says he can prove the story belongs to him and not Shooter, but while Mort digs around for the magazine which published the story in question years ago, things begin to happen around Shooter. Mort's dog dies, people begin to die, and his divorce proceedings with Amy continue to get uglier. It seems that Shooter has Mort over a barrel, but perhaps Mort has his own ideas on how to resolve all the problems that plague him lately. Written by Anthony Pereyra {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

writer | stranger | divorce | cabin | time | See All (249) »


The most important part of a story is the ending. See more »


Mystery | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence/terror, sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 March 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Secret Window, Secret Garden  »

Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$18,237,568 (USA) (12 March 2004)


$2,833,800 (Japan) (12 November 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the scene where Johnny Depp bursts in on Maria Bello and Timothy Hutton in the Motel; David Koepp wanted Bello and Hutton to look shocked and scared - he made them both lie in the bed for 15 minutes before Depp rushed in. The production crew set up large speakers that blared static noise when the script called for them to be scared. The lights in the room were also rigged to go on when Johnny Depp opened the door, startling the actors further. No one knew exactly how to act. See more »


When Mort finds Tom in the station wagon he faints. First we see him pitch forwards. Then the camera (from his perspective) pans to the left but we see him land on the ground to his right. See more »


[first lines]
Mort: [voiceover] Turn around. Turn around. Turn the car around and get the hell out of here. Right now. Don't go back. Do not go back there.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits Johnny Depp can be briefly heard singing "Shortnin' Bread". See more »


References The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) See more »


Shortnin' Bread
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A very well crafted and skilled psychological thriller
7 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've seen psychological thriller's that try to scare you more than melt your brain, this one I'm proud to say does both. It's a very, very malicious and haunting thrill machine. I t brings the very essence of how horror and Psycho thriller's are suppose to be done, not with over the top gore and CGI, but with old school conventional means.

Secret Window is as sinister as it is smart it rolls along at a very steady pace and brings more to the table than what was required. It shows you what the decent into madness and utter chaos looks like, it shows you the depth and moral ambiguities of a torn man who's lost everything. With that said you can examine the physic of the mind as it cracks under extreme and constant pressure and how your choices do affect who you help, or who you hurt. This film's pace and dark style is meant to reflect horror films of the 40's, 50's, 60's and early 70's before gore became cool but that makes this film such a joy to watch and study. And that makes it a great film, not a good film, a great film.

Johnny Depp( who was fantastic here.) gives a very eccentric and brilliant performance as the conflicted writer Mort Rainey, John Turturro does exceptionally well as the sinister and vicious Shooter and he almost outclasses Depp in this film. Charles S. Dutton does well with the few scenes he's. But the main let down and I think the reason for this film's poor reviews from critics were the bland and very lame performances of Timothy Hutton( he won an Oscar he can do better than this.) and Maria Bello, they really lowered the caliber and class of this film and forced Depp to try harder to make them look good and make there time on screen with him good, but he succeeds and they fail. But Turturro and Depp hold up strong.

Secret Window is a very Keene and captivating psychological/horror thriller that is surefire mind boggling entertainment and out of this world fun. This movie is great rainy day entertainment or any day entertainment for that matter it's just all around a fantastic and mind boggling film that makes you question the sanity of writers and the world they live in ( speaking as one myself.) it brings to question as the thoughts in our mind really our conscious or our selves just speaking out to right the wrongs doe against us It's a film that ask those questions and then you have to answer. All in all Secret Window was a sinister, malicious and thought provoking film that delivers a movie going experience like no other.

18 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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