Underrated Horror Movie Recommendations: Secret Window

Underrated Horror Movie Recommendations: Secret Window

Underrated Horror Movie Recommendations: Secret Window

Out of the many horror/suspense movies that exist and among those that deal with mental issues this has to be one of my favorites. Maybe it’s because the main part of the story is about a writer that slowly but surely loses himself to his own story, or maybe it’s something else, but the acting in the movie is actually quite interesting as well. Johnny Depp, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton, Charles Dutton, and John Turturro did a great job in bringing this story to life and were bolstered by several other skilled actors that helped out as supporting characters and extras. What’s really amusing is that as it happened with a few other King stories, so too did this one spring from a short story that had a very different ending. The initial story was also a bit different despite the fact that Mort Rainey became highly unbalanced in both the original and the movie. That’s kind of disturbing to think about as an author since a lot of people already think that some of us are a bit unhinged, and they’re not wrong. But skipping back and forth from reality to fantasy is a little different than plunging headfirst into the madness. 

Honestly, the difference is that the latter is harder to come back from. But in any case, the story begins with Mort Rainey, played by Depp, an author of some renown that has made a comfortable living with his writing, which means he owns a lake house, a luxurious home that is inhabited by his ex-wife and her lover and is able to lounge about most of the day without worrying too much about expenses. But that’s not where everything begins, as the movie-spoilers for those who haven’t seen it-opens up with Mort sitting in his vehicle outside of a motel on a dark, snowy night, speaking to himself via his internal voice. The opening scene makes it clear that Mort is not having a good time, which makes it rather clear that the room he heads for does not hold a pleasant scene, in his opinion at least. 

The type of madness that grips Mort Rainey has more to do with his self-imposed isolation after the dissolution of his marriage and the need of his own fractured mind to find a solution to sort things out to be fair. Mort isn’t exactly a fragile individual, but he’s definitely someone with personal issues that doesn’t handle a great deal of stress all that well and has trouble dealing with people in a reasonable manner. That’s why when a man named John Shooter comes around, claiming that Mort stole his story, things take a serious turn for the strange and unsettling as Mort’s mind begins to unravel and Shooter begins to set in motion events that will at one point culminate in a manner that will threaten the stability of Mort’s world. Every author’s journey along the twisting corridors of thought and inspiration is different, but the path that Mort takes is one that many can easily see is a product of his talent as well as the troubles that he’s endured after the destruction of his marriage and the depression that’s set in months following it. In other words, Mort’s personal life has done a number on his professional life. 

But as things heat up and Shooter continues to push the idea the Mort stole his story and has a price to pay for it, the imagery in the story begins to expand as various moments might appear confusing to the audience, but might actually be kind of meaningful to those that sit and pound away on a keyboard for so many hours a day. In other words, those who take the time to notice the world around them and how it can contribute to the stories they tell might see a little more from time to time, and as such the imagery that is there to be noticed could take on a very different meaning. In Mort’s experience, many things in life begin to take on an ominous cast as Shooter continues to be a problem and the steps needed to wrap up the end of his marriage become even more complicated when his former home is burned to the ground, and things only get worse when one of the townsfolk and Mort’s literary agent are found dead. While Mort manages to erase any and all evidence of any wrongdoing, the story finally begins to unravel as the madness that has gripped him finally takes hold completely. 

In short, Mort is John Shooter, and vice versa, as they’re one and the same, and the author’s poor, tortured mind finally fractures as Shooter takes over, killing Mort’s ex-wife when she comes to check on him, as well as her lover, Ted, when he attempts to come to her rescue. In other words, the antagonist of the story wins, as Mort then buries them both and, despite suspicions held by the sheriff and the townsfolk, gets away with murder as he goes back to writing once again. 

John Turturro

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