Customer Reviews: Desperation
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on July 8, 2009
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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on June 16, 2006
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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on September 25, 2006
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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on June 23, 2016
good movie i enjoyed it way back when it first came on tv. that is why i ordered it. although Stephen kings novels and books are all rather weird. but i still like them. my daughter order me 5 or 6 movies for mother's day of Stephen king movies on dvd. real nice gift. now i got 3/4 of all his movies that came out. he does write good books. but i find the movies are better. his books are to detailed to me. i don't care to know what kind of jeans the guy wears as he describes them in the books. i read one book of his and i find them long, boring and dragged out. i rather watch the movies of the books he wrote. . kim''s mom writing this
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on December 4, 2008
I really like about 75% of DESPERATION. It starts off w/ a wonderfully insane performance by Ron Perlman (Hellboy himself!) as the homicidal sheriff / demon of the small town of the title. He's very fun to watch! Then, we see the gathering of the forces of good (Steve Weber, Annabeth Gish, Charles Durning, et al) who must face down this beast. There is solid evidence that we are in for an epic battle, a reworking of THE STAND in microcosm. Tension builds, weird things happen, and lives are lost. All is well until we get to the conclusion of the story. That's when the proverbial wheels fly off. I mean, there's all this build-up, all this "coming supernatural showdown" stuff for the first 90 minutes or so, then- Pfffftt! A big fizzle at the end. I would love to have seen the final conflict between prayer-boy and Tak! It could have been spectacular! Instead, we get an explosion and THE END. Sort of like getting spinach for dessert! Blecch! Still, it's worth watching just for Perlman...
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on March 15, 2016
Having read and fully enjoyed the book, I was a bit hesitant to watch the move as so often changes are made that don't fit the story or so much is cut out that it's a different story completely (as in the first movie made of The Shining). But I took a chance and I'm glad I did! This was an excellent depiction of the novel, even with the challenges of condensing a somewhat complex story into a movie time frame. The acting was fully believable; love the allusions and symbolism and the existential questions that are interwoven into the film. They fit the story line and don't drag it down - an amazing feat, I think. This is one of my favorite Stephen King novels and now one of my favorite movies (ranks up there with the television mini-series of The Stand for me).
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on August 14, 2013
It's often interesting to me when I see me when I see a 5 star rating for a product that is truly awful. In the case of a product, one can argue that some reviewers got a a bad item because the factory workers had a bad day or the product was damaged during shipment. In the case of a movie, however, we all get the same product. That being said, there is absolutely no reason this movie should receive anything above 2 stars. The acting in this movie is pretty bad. The plot is definitely in the 2 star range, if I were generous. The movie looks and feels old and dated. Ron Perlman who (fair disclosure) I've never really been a fan of. Hams it up as a crazy sheriff. There are a few good actors in the movie, like Charles Durning and Tom Skerrit, but they don't have any material to really work with. I'm not sure about the level of Stephen Kings involvement with the movie, but his movies are generally better when he isn't too involved. This is definitely a B or C horror flick. It was really painful to watch. I still haven't finished, but I will dutifully try and finish it tonight. I say this with a greater sense of dread than the movie is able to stir up in its audience. Maybe the true genius of the movie is the discomfort and dread it inspires in watching, not because the movie is that good, but rather because it's so bad.

One last thing: Can I say that I really have a problem when people give 5 star ratings to movies like this? I mean, have they ever seen The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, The Shining, etc.? How many stars would they get? Is this truly on a par with those movies? Are they saying, "Hey, thsi is a horror classic? I just wish I had more stars to give. Utterly wonderful. I would see it again and again. When does the blue ray come out? I want to own this and pass it on to my posterity? Great job, movie people!". Now I realize that movies vary and you can't always compare one with another, but really? If you ignore my review and the other 1 star reviews on this movie, I challenge you to sit through the entire thing and watch it again. I dare you! I triple dare you.
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on May 30, 2015
Actually one of the better Stephen King movies translated from his story of the same name. Good actors and a faithful plot to the novella. I was very pleased this time rather than disappointed as many of my other King-to-movie experiences have been.
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on November 26, 2015
3.5 Stars! Really great adaptation of the book. I would have easily given this movie 4.5 stars, the cast is excellent, the acting is superb, and the movie is an amazing recreation of Stephen King's amazing novel. My problem was the ending goes off the rails so suddenly and completely, it's as if the director had no idea where to go at a certain point. Boo! I would still reccomend this movie, the first 80% of the movie is fantastic and would be fun for anyone, whether you read the novel or not. But shame on whoever crapped all over the end.
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on May 7, 2015
Why is it that Stephen King stories are so much more creepier to read than to see on the screen? These directors should do a lot more with his movies besides making them look like typical B-horror flicks. But as far as Stephen King movies go, this one is pretty decent showing gore, horror, and creepy-crawly things. It pretty much sticks to the novel too, minus the stuff they they aren't willing to show on screen. Casting Ron Pearlman as the sheriff was a genius idea, as he's a tall & big dude to begin with, but combine him the low camera angles & makeup & he's even more creepy. Pretty decent scary movie to watch if you're bored on a Saturday or have read the novel & want to see it on screen.
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