Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Desperation (2006)

So, I must be on a bit of a Stephen King kick, because last night I watched Desperation. Originally a TV movie, and then released on Lions Gate Films, Desperation is based on the 1997 King book of the same name. I loved the book Desperation, and was excited to see the movie especially since one of my secret favorite horror actors is in it (Steven Weber -- yipeee!!)

The teleplay for Desperation was written by Stephen King, so I was definitely expecting a lot out of the movie. I was excited to see that, in general, the movie was able to portray the intense creepiness (not outright "boo" factor) that the book did.

The movie follows four groups of people as they're all consequently headed towards the town of Desperation, Nevada. They comprise a family in an RV, an aging writer traveling cross-country, his roadie and a hitchhiker, and a couple driving a relative's car back to New York. They all, for one reason or another, end up in the back of a crazy cop's cruiser and headed for Desperation.

The cop is Collie Entragian, played by a very convincing Ron Perlman. To be honest, I was expecting more of a Henry Rollins type to play Entragian, but I think Perlman pulled it off very well. Especially the "tak" line (repeated throughout the movie) which could have been really awkward, but instead was convincing and creepy.

Back in town, and a couple family members short due to Entragian's rage, all of these poor people are loaded into jail cells in order to await their fate. The cop ends up knocking off the little girl from the family, as well as Mary's husband, and peaces out for a bit, apparently to gather more victims.

Then the kid from the family (David) goes on one of his many god-streaks, soaps himself up, and escapes from the jail cell. Everyone somehow escapes without the wacko cop noticing, armors themselves with weapons, etc. and head for the movie theater, which according to old dude is the safest place in town.

Well, obviously it's not, but this is when the movie starts to go downhill anyway. The "hiding out" part was one of the better parts of the book, but here, it just plods along. There are numerous "flashbacks" and that dead little girl keeps reappearing and leading everyone around. Sooner or later, some more people are dead, the cop has switched bodies, and everyone is running around Desperation for their lives.

Finally, it gets to the conclusion which pretty closely follows the book, but goes off on another God-tangent, and WHEN ARE THESE PEOPLE GOING TO QUIT PRAYING?! Seriously, get out of there! WTF?! Sometimes, I wonder if Stephen King gets on a little too much of a religious streak for his own good. So yadayada, some people survive and then there's this random photo album, andddd by this time, I've given up on this nonsense.

So the consensus? This movie could have been really good. The book was great, the premise was scary, and the vibe was creepy. Steven Weber was dead sexy but there was absolutely no chemistry between him and the punk chick. And the God thing just went on and on until I was rolling my eyes.

I really wanted to like this movie like I loved the book, but much like SK's IT, it was creepy throughout but then it took a weird fantasy turn that left me giggling rather than shreiking.

Fingers crossed that the upcoming Talisman and Black House miniseries are a billion times better.

Grade: D (When the Freddy-sweater-colored convertible top comes over the kids in Nightmare on Elm Street -- I mean, WTF did that even mean?!)