Directed by: Mick Garris | 131 minutes | horror | Actors: Annabeth Gish, Tom Skerritt, Ron Perlman, Henry Thomas, Steven Weber, Charles Durning, Matt Frewer, Tom Parker, Kelly Overton, Ewan Chung, Sammi Hanratty, Shane Haboucha, Sylva Kelegian, Alain Uy, Trieu Tran, Darren Victoria, Glenn R Wilder, Chris Calilung
Unsuspecting tourists drive the deserted roads of the American desert. Until a brutal police officer takes them to the station, where hell begins for them. It sounds like a cliched horror movie and that’s the new adaptation of the Stephen King book, “Desperation”.
Peter and Mary Jackson must drive a family member’s car back to New York. They drive for hours on the desert roads of America. Suddenly, they are stopped by a strange but likeable police officer named Collie Entragian. This points out to the two that their number plate on the back of the car is missing. When they get to a toolbox to move the front license plate back, the cop discovers marijuana in the trunk. At that moment, he turns into a cruel man, who berates the two and takes them to the police station in the deserted and haunted village of Desperation. It is also starting to notice that his skin is covered with scabs and sores. He shoots Peter immediately upon arrival and imprisons Mary, like many others, in one of the cells.
Meanwhile, renowned writer John Edward Marinville rides his motorcycle on the same road that Peter and Mary did. He is also caught by the police officer. He still manages to reach his assistant with his cell phone, who drives after him in a truck full of attributes that are necessary for the performances that the writer gives throughout the country. Despite the poor reception, he understands that his boss is in trouble. Together with a hitchhiker he has picked up on the way, he goes looking for him.
Although the story lacks some originality, it does have potential. That’s why it’s a shame that the opening scene, in which Peter and Mary Jackson are taken by the cop, is so bad. This leaves a mark on the rest of the film. Actor Ron Perlman (“Hellboy”, “Enemy at the Gates”) who takes on the role of the police officer raises the level even more. It is only when the film continues with the story of the author (Tom Skerritt) and his assistant (Steven Weber) that the whole thing starts to get going.
Especially the son of the Carver family, who is also locked up in one of the cells, and Mary are acting very unbelievable. When the boy manages to escape from his cell in a special way, he comes across a number of brutally murdered victims of the agent. However, more than a single scare cry does not come from him. Mary, whose husband was shot several minutes before her eyes, also seems to have forgotten that incident quickly. The story also becomes a bit too confusing at the end, as we are used to from King’s books. Escaped demons and strange visions are dragged by the hair.
Despite the weak story and poor acting of a few actors, it is not a boring film to watch. Moreover, this is originally a TV movie, which on average is of a bit less quality than cinema films.
There are not only downsides of course; Ron Perlman is acting well as a demonic agent and Stephen Weber, as the assistant, also does a good acting job. In terms of art direction and set decoration (for which the film has won an award), “Desperation” can compete with the lesser cinema films. Not a topper, but for a nice evening with a friend on the couch it is good enough.