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Desperation (2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Mick Garris

Starring:
Tom Skerritt/Marinville
Steven Weber/Steve
Ron Perlman/Collie
PLOT-CRUNCH
In the town of Desperation, a group of strangers see themselves arrested and thrown in a jail by a wacko Police Officer (Pearlman). They soon find out that the town suffers from a bigger ailment than one nutty 5.0. It’s called demonic possession and evil giving it a shot as to owning the world. Will love and our good Lord save the day?
THE LOWDOWN

I see you're an organ donor. Are you sure that's wise? - Collie Entragian

Stephen King’s DESPERATION is “special” to me. Not only was it King back in top form but it was also a book I got to devour while lying in a hammock, by the ocean in Maine. No work, e-mails, phones or nagging broads…just me, the book and the ocean…that was a first for me in like 10 years. When I heard that Mick Garris was adapting the novel for TV, a smile graced my ugly mug! Now that I got my paws on it and saw it, I’m still happy!

A lot people bust Mick Garris’ balls for doing so many Stephen King adaptations. And although I see where that’s coming from on some level, I actually value the fact that King has found an ally in Garris and that they keep working together. By result Garris keeps getting better at the King game after each film. Desperation was strong proof of that. Now I read the book, so I can only talk from that point of view, but trust me when I say that the man nailed it. The film was MUCHO faithful to its source (King wrote the script so that helped) on all echelons. The desert landscape, the abandoned town, the dingy movie theater, the spooky mine from the book were all communicated splendidly here via choice locations and Garris’s keen eye. This baby looked as morbid-nice as a film called Desperation should!

Character wise, the ball was hit out of the park there too! The casting was ideal (Ron Pearlman and Tom Skerritt were my favs), the acting on the money, the endearing group chemistry there and most were developed enough within the 131 minutes clock time for me to give a hoot. That added to the tension filled bits and the sense of dread that was so constant within the flick. Which brings me to the horror at hand. Being that the book is fairly grisly and that this was a TV movie, I was a tad fearful that the drink would be watered down. How surprised was I to see that there was more Rum than Coke in this beverage. Although far from a gore fest, the film showed and implied enough to bring the horror of the situation home with gusto. I was taken aback as to how much they got away with for TV. NICE! Add to all that an engaging pace, a back-handing score, random moments of circumstantial humor that tickled my funny boner and a semi thought provoking "God theme" as to how he works and you get a keeper!

On the slide down the snake side of the Snakes and Ladder board game, a couple of things did nag at me with the use of CGI during some horror scenes being the first. It totally took me out of the film, looked silly and didn’t get the intended reaction out of me. The constant “god talk” from kiddy lead David (well played by Shane Haboucha) got grating after a while as well. To the film’s defense though, it was the same jive in the book, but sometimes what’s on the page doesn’t translate that swell on celluloid, this was one of those times. Finally, my worst peeve with the flick had to do with the rushing of some key moments, lessening their impact in the process (one death in particular was totally slap-dashed our way). Taking more time with some of the circumstances would’ve added to the fear factor and the whole’s impact if you ask me or that dead chick’s head taking an ice-cube nap in my freezer.

Overall though, Desperation was a satisfying watch. The likeable cast, the fine tuned script and the efficient direction all came through to bring one of my most cherished books (for personal reasons) to life! Props to all!

GORE
Although not overly graphic, the film implied and suggested enough for my feeble brain to gap what was missing. We get countless dead bodies, severed limbs, mangled faces, random blood, folks hung from ceilings and more! Not a splatter-fest but nasty enough, especially for TV!
ACTING
Tom Skerritt (Marinville) is one of the only men out there who sports a moustache that I can take seriously. He owned the screen with his layered show. Steven Weber (Steve) did fine via charisma and a natural delivery. Any doubts I had about Ron Perlman being Collie Entragian (I always pictured somebody younger) were nipped in the bud the moment he popped up onscreen. Funny, frightening and credible, Pearlman made the part happen!

I adore Annabeth Gish (Mary Jackson) and it’s always a treat to see her do her thing. Photogenic with strong acting chops, you can’t ask for more! Shane Haboucha (David Carver) was pretty good, specially when taking into account he had to play a semi testing character. Kelly Overton (Cynthia Smith) was spunky and sexy. Just what the character needed! Sylva Kelegian (Ellie Carver) played her role’s two polar opposite “states” ably. Veterans Matt Frewer (Ralph Carver) and Charles Durning (Tom Billingsley) were on the ball as per usual.
T & A
Its TV man…no dice! Back to the Porn channel I go!
DIRECTING
Garris just keeps getting better and better behind the camera. Here he imbued the film with a threatening feel throughout, did good use of wide shots/slick angles/close ups for maximum effect and managed to build up random moments of tension. Dug it!
SOUNDTRACK
The score for this film was ASTOUNDING! I so loved the poignant piano dittie for the sadder moments and the varied, use of sounds that was used for the scarier bits. The latter actually reminded me of an Asian Horror score. AWESOME!
BOTTOM LINE
Chalk up DESPERATION alongside Garris’s THE STAND and RIDING THE BULLET (so underrated) as one of his best films to date! All of the sweet joo-joo was there! A fine cast, potent audio/visuals, a fine tuned screenplay and an easy flow pace! And it was mucho close to the book at that! What else can a King fan want! Granted the tacky CG had to go and “taking more time” with some of the film’s turns would’ve made be a happier man but when all the cats were killed and nailed on road signs, I was a pleased horror fan, a grooving King fan and a fulfilled Desperation fan! GRACIAS!
BULL'S EYE
The flick was shot in Bisbee, Arizona for 12 Million clams.

The film was initially suppoed to be a theatrical feature set up at New Line, it didn't happen.
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6:31PM on 09/15/2006

You gotta be kidding me

3 of 4!? Dude, I couldn't stand 30 minutes of this preachy dribbel. "And an easy flow pace" that's the biggest issue, this movie got slow and boring really early on, after Ron Perlman suddenly disappears from the screen this baby started to take in water. Bleh, awful.
3 of 4!? Dude, I couldn't stand 30 minutes of this preachy dribbel. "And an easy flow pace" that's the biggest issue, this movie got slow and boring really early on, after Ron Perlman suddenly disappears from the screen this baby started to take in water. Bleh, awful.
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4:59PM on 08/17/2006

Riding the Bullet

He already did. Also, DESPERATION was pretty kick ass. I love the summer King horrorshow...lol...I loved it when for a while we had one every summer with IT and THE SHINING remake and so on...then this year we got both DESPERATION and NIGHTMARES AND DREAMSCAPES.
He already did. Also, DESPERATION was pretty kick ass. I love the summer King horrorshow...lol...I loved it when for a while we had one every summer with IT and THE SHINING remake and so on...then this year we got both DESPERATION and NIGHTMARES AND DREAMSCAPES.
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+0
1:01PM on 08/17/2006
Arrow, you saw Riding The Bullet too? I'm so interested but don't know how it's like. Will you review it?
Arrow, you saw Riding The Bullet too? I'm so interested but don't know how it's like. Will you review it?
Your Reply:



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