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158 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Cross-country travelers on an isolated highway are arrested by a corrupt sheriff and jailed in a desolate town whose streets are littered with the dead bodies of local residents. The captives manage to escape, only to discover that Desperation, Nevada, is more than just a town gone wrong—it’s the terrifying source of unbridled evil.

Director Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers), also recruited by Stephen King to remake The Shining, knows how to capture King's horror aesthetic on film. Desperation, based on a more recent King novel, is a pastiche of earlier King novelties, such as the psycho in uniform, this time Sheriff Collie Entragian (Ron Perlman), and dogs summoned by the devil, this time by TAK, an ancient Chinese demon. Desperation, Nevada has a collapsed mine full of Chinese immigrant ghosts, whose spirits are trapped with TAK until they're accidentally unleashed. The TAK-possessed local sheriff is killing everyone, save a few travelers who stumble through on road trips. In the opening scene, Mary (Annabeth Gish) and her beau are pulled over by Sheriff Entragian, framed by his placing of marijuana in their trunk, then read their rights with a Satanic "I will kill you" thrown in. Later, Steve (Steven Weber), Cynthia (Kelly Overton), and Vietnam vet John Marinville (Tom Skerrit), ride into town, and they too encounter the evil policeman's wrath. They all meet a brave, imprisoned boy, David (Shane Haboucha), with whom they team up to end the mayhem. Desperation uses blue and green lighting to embrace the funhouse look, and camera shots highlighting the Sheriff's deranged face make the film occasionally spooky. But the rehashed plot detracts from the fear-factor, leaving one to pine for earlier King story adaptations, like Misery, or Cujo.--Trinie Dalton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Skerritt, Steven Weber, Annabeth Gish, Charles Durning, Matt Frewer
  • Directors: Mick Garris
  • Writers: Stephen King
  • Producers: Mick Garris, Bruce Dunn, Kelly Van Horn, Mark Sennet, Stephen King
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: August 29, 2006
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000G1R39E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,360 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Desperation" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 34 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 16, 2006
Format: DVD
Stephen King, as reknowned as he is, has a bad habit of recycling ideas for his books. Likewise, films based on his books, particularly the made for TV ones, are often nothing short of awful. Desperation has its moments, but is too muddy, too weird, and too saccarine sweet at times.

The film feels overly familiar to other King adaptations such as the Langoliers, IT and even the Stand. A group of sundry people are trapped in a Nevada ghost town and are at the mercy of a powerful earth demon or entity known as Tak, who dates back to an ancient, pre-Native American civilization. In the first half of the movie, Tak is played by the woefully underrated Ron Perlman, one of my favorite actors. Perlman chews up the scenery and seems to be enjoying himself. But the problem is that Tak can only inhabit human bodies for short amounts of time as they decompose rapidly, so Perlman isn't really seen in the second act. Lots of familiar actors and actresses show up, including Tom Skerrit as a Vietnam vet writer, Matt Frewer, Anabeth Gish and Stephen Webber. However, things get really muddled in the clash of good vs. evil. There are ENDLESS speeches and pep talks about God and christian faith, its really tiresome. However, the little boy who stands in for Danny from the Shining often finds himself asking if maybe the God he worships might be no less sadistic than Tak, so things aren't all black and white. The atmosphere of the town of Desperation is cool, but suffers from bad lighting. Probably the creepiest scene is a supernatural old film reel of how Tak was released from its ancient slumber.

Its too bad that there wasn't much light shed on what exactly is Tak trying to accomplish. It simply awakens, posseses people, controls animals and that's about it. It would also have been cooler if they delved a bit deeper into the ancient civilization that is connected with Tak. Oh well, if you're a King fan you might eat it up.

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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By David Smith on September 25, 2006
Format: DVD
So I thought I only saw pieces of the ABC presentation of Desperation. On TV I thought I missed the chapter about the first family, David's family, and how they came to be in the town jail. It turns out I didn't miss anything, that's the way it was filmed. When I heard the film was available on DVD and "R" rated, too, I vowed to rent it and see the movie as it was designed to be seen. Curses, gore, adult scares and, perhaps a booby! One wouldn't expect anything but the most watered down presentation on ABC but the "R" rated version, oh boy!

The DVD, rated "R", was EXACTLY the same presentation word for word and scene for scene with the only difference being the exclusion of commercials. I'm going to say, and prove me wrong, that the "R" rating was slapped on the DVD to intice people to rent it to see the original adult version. What a sneaky rip-off. How can they do that?

Overall, the movie was not great. The ending was completely tacked on and I got a little tired of the sermonizing. The performances were OK, with the exception of Ron Perlman's performance. He was outstanding.

I know Amazon sells this DVD but they also sell the book and the book is much more satisfying. It's hard to believe the same guy that wrote the movie also wrote the book. I'm sure everybody made lots of money on this project but I'd like my money back.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Keith Mirenberg on July 8, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Stephen King's Desperation (2006) was a poor two star film adaptation. I was only able to enjoy the first twenty minutes or so of Ron Perlman's work playing a Desperation road cop and then the movie turned to complete ka ka. This film was supposedly a mini "Stand", but I didn't see any comparison. It appeared to be a flimsy excuse for showing some very warped screen images that will stay in memory and make the audience never trust a police officer again! The on location scenery was very nice and was scoped out by King himself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark bennett on May 23, 2012
Format: DVD
There isn't anything in particular wrong with this film, but there is also nothing in particular right about it. Its worst aspect is that it recycles so many old elements of Stephen King's works. We get the empty town. We get the mindless monster that we never quite see directly. We get the writer character standing in for the author. We get the brave character with conviction. We get the social lecture. Children of the Corn becomes Sheriff of the Mine.

Ron Perlman turns in a great performance as the Sheriff. Its a great character actor sort of part and he projects danger/menace/insanity very well in it. But he is gone way too soon. It really hurts the film that its major (and best) villian is disposed of in the way the sheriff is.

There is also a semi-religious sub-plot which is mostly well done, but dealt with in the script in a repetitive and talky way. Showing things in that regard is far more effective than talking about it. The sequence from the jail cell through the escape is very well done in that regard. But it falls down after that.

The whole sub-plot about the Chinese miners is a preachy waste of time.

The monster in the film has the same failings as most of King's monsters: They have no motivation for what they are doing. No long term plan beyond killing one person after another for no particular reason.

Not a great film. But a reasonably good by the numbers old school horror film with one very good acting performance.
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