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  • Besides a mediocre performance from Tom Skeritt this adaptation of Steven Kings 600+ page novel is up to par with some of his best big screen productions. Each scene is expertly crafted right out of the pages of Desperation (probably due to the fact that King wrote the screenplay). The police precinct including the desk and each cell seemed as if it were pulled straight from the novel itself. The characters appearances and each detail down to the smiley face on the bag of marijuana that lands Peter and Mary in the slammer were constructed with sheer perfection. If you read the book you'll notice that they changed little things to get with the times, like the hitchhikers shirt instead of being Pete Tesh is Bob Dylan, and there's a small reference towards the end to Donald Rumsfeld and Adam Sandler.

    When I saw that there was going to be a TV movie version of this book I was worried because of the graphic sequences needed to do Desperation justice. I was not disappointed. The animal sequences were the most impressive, with vultures and dogs standing as an animal army together. The scene where the dogs line the road for miles was one of the eeriest animal sequences King has ever incorporated in a film (Others including: Cujo, The Night Flyer, etc.).

    In my opinion no one was more suited for the role of Collie Entragian than Ron Perlman, he gave the best performance in the entire production in my opinion (not to insult Steven Webber). Though Tom Skeritt wasn't as good as he could have been, he was still the perfect person for his role. Skeritt just didn't come off as an asshole as well as he should have. Everyone else was good, down to the Chinese actors who had absolutely no lines.

    In summary if you read the book you will like this movie the only thing that wasn't in the movie was the tree-house that David went to in his mind (not necessarily a bad thing). The director did great job of filling in the viewer on loose ends throughout the film, and it is a strict adaptation of the novel. I've heard critics comment on his use of left wing ideology in this screenplay but I have no idea what they're talking about, maybe I'm just not politically coherent enough to understand, but I feel that the movie deserves the recognition as a horror movie over that of political satire.

    Thank you so much for reading my opinion I appreciate you taking the time of day to observe what I have to say.
  • I bought this movie out of the bargain bin at wal-mart the other day. It isn't something that would normally catch my interest, but I remember reading the book many years ago, and although I didn't remember a lot of details of the book, I remember enjoying it, and figured if I got even a fraction of the entertainment out of the movie as I did the book I would be satisfied. There are a few plot holes, but nothing too dramatic. The movie was thoroughly creepy. Connie was a convincing villain, and it was well cast. I think the kid was a bit on the quiet side for what I had always pictured him to be, but He still did a decent job. I bought this movie for 5 bucks, and it was well worth that. I would recommend this for renting, but paying much more than say 10 bucks to purchase it would be foolish. All in all a good movie although would have been much better as a feature film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have read of my favorites but unfortunately that means my expectations for this LONG awaited film adaptation were through the roof. And once you have read the book you have a whole new set of expectations for the film counterpart. That being said it was pretty well done for being compacted into two hours (three with commercials.) Much of the real meat and potatoes of the book had to be cut to give us the basics of what Desperation was all about. It's the best King film in a long time reminiscent of his eighties and nineties classic adaptations such as It, The Stand, and even Storm of The Century. King's stories are ultimately about isolation, that feeling of being all alone in the world against a supernatural terror and Desperation captures that fairly well.

    Steven Weber, who I really like, joins his second Stephen King cast (the first one being the extremely well done The Shining mini-series.) Weber plays "roadie" Steve Ames. Weber is a strong actor and he could easily lead the cast but he fits in well and although his role is downplayed from the book he is a great addition to the cast. Tom Skerritt plays aging egotistical writer John Edward Marinville. Now when I saw his name attached to this role I didn't think he could do it. Marinville is a tough guy, a rough around the edges adventurer and I thought Skerritt couldn't pull it off and I will be the first to eat my words because Skerritt is excellent!! This may be one of his best roles certainly on Television. He is exactly the right person for this role. TV actress Annabeth Gish plays Mary Jackson. Her role is toned down as well from the book but still she does a lot and does well with what they give her character. She's a strong, independent female who ends up with the most terror around her but she fights her way back. I was also very hesitant about believing Ron Perlman could play the larger than life insane killer cop Collie Entragian, and again I eat my words. He is perfect!! He does look enormous and strong and completely crazy when he belts out "TAK!" Coincidentally EXACTLY how I felt about the book...I wanted Entragian to be in it more, I wanted him to last longer. He was the perfect adversary. Young TV Actor Shane Haboucha steals the show as religiously connected and enlightened David Carver. He is no stranger to acting but still this really put him at the forefront of the cast and he does very well. He holds his own against veteran Tom Skerritt on numerous occasions. Kelly Overton is kind of the scream queen of Desperation...stumbling on dead bodies and horrific scenes and belting out her petrified screams. Her romance with character Steve Ames (played by Weber) is toned down but you still get a connection between them which I think is really important to the story. Sylva Kelegian plays Ellie Carver whose best performance is after Tak takes over her body. She is good as the Mom and then the killer which shows her versatility as an actress. Matt Frewer who I immediately recognized from Honey I Shrunk The Kids, but is well known for his immense work in animation is okay as the Carver father Ralph. His role is almost non-existent, he barely has lines and any emotions he does have he comes across as whiny and scared. But for what they gave him in the role he does alright. Charles Durning plays the elder of the group Tom Billingsley and he looks the part but his character is more or less cut down to virtually nothing much like Ralph Carver. Sammi Hanratty is appropriately creepy as Pie Carver, David's little sister, murdered by Entragian but returns as a spirit to help save them all.

    Mick Garris is NO stranger to King films, this being his 5th I believe?? He has done some really great work with King including the aforementioned Shining Mini Series, The Stand, and Sleepwalkers. King also actually penned the script for this TV adaptation which I am convinced saves this from being utter crap because at least King knows the characters intimately and knows what could be cut. I am sure that he would have liked to have had more included as well. What is left in is an interesting, perversive and violent horror flick that does put you in the edge of your seat numerous times. I was really surprised (not un-pleasantly about the religious undertone of the film. The characters especially David Carver talk a lot about faith and God and although King always has a bit of a religious tone to his books in one form or another this film especially really does preach a faith driven message. Some say that hurts the film I don't agree at all!! I think Stephen King is a brilliant writer and philosopher even if he doesn't mean to. I think that after reading the book it just feels so quick and adapted down to virtually nothing. It is indeed bare bones compared to the novel. I hate to compare the film to the novel but it's hard not to do especially when the novel is one of your favorites. If you don't read King but you love his films then you must see Desperation because it's a throwback to when he made really great adaptations and not the drivvle that's been appearing lately (Riding The Bullet.) Now if we could convince King and Garris to make Insomnia I'd be a happy man!! 7.5/10
  • tytianacs23 May 2006
    I just viewed the 'made for TV' movie and I thought that it was pretty good! I read both books over ten years ago and considering, it turned out to be better than I had expected, although I thought that the second book (The Regulators) was much better than the first (Desperation)! Ron Perlman was excellent (as usual!) along with Tom Skerritt. The supporting cast were pretty good also (Charles Durning and Matt Fewer were somewhat 'under used'). I was also quite impressed with how they stuck with the religious 'tone' of the story seeing how sensitive that people are nowadays. But all in all, it kept my 13 year old son 'glued' to the 'set after I explained the first and second book to him.

    It doesn't compare to "The Stand" which I found absolutely fantastic but for a three hour film, it holds it's ground! Like myself and my son, we are hoping that Mr. King already have the follow-up, "The Regulators" already in the works. And if you haven't read both books yet, now would be a good time to find these 'gems' and read them. Trust me, you will not be able to put them down! King at his finest!!!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I just finished reading almost 700 great pages of "Desperation" and was excited to see how it would look as a movie. I knew going in that it would most likely be changed and watered down a bit since it was made-for-TV, but I thought the extent of that would be no foul language (since in the book there's a ton of it) and less gore. Let me tell ya... There was a LOT more wrong than just that. Where to begin... So much was changed that it would be impossible to touch on all of it so I guess I'll just talk about the things that bothered me most.

    The first half hour I have to say was not so bad aside from the bad camera angles (a lot of worms-eye-view shots), the stale acting and the cheesy "made-for-TV" look it had overall. It was a lot less dark and eerie than I pictured in my head, and they sort of rushed through everything and made minor changes here and there but those things were to just keep it current since the book was written 10 years ago and also they needed to speed things up based on the time they had for the film. So far, not a major upset. I can live with those things.

    But then out of nowhere... Are you kidding me?

    First of all, in the book the kid David had this entire back-story about his friend Brian almost dying and it was literally one of the most important back drops for the entire thing - they cut it out. Instead they showed his friend get hit by a car and David crying over him and that was that. Because that whole story line was cut out they also had to change the ending because the ending was based on something that happened there and MAN did they cheese up the ending by putting David's yearbook with a picture of Johnny and Pie in it. I almost lost it.

    They cut out one character all together, Audrey who was a MAJOR character in the middle of the story which helps the people figure out what's going on. Instead of having her in the story they just gave Tom (the old drunk who lived in Desperation) more lines to describe things and keep the audience up to speed although it was still way confusing if you didn't read the book. Also, They didn't show them trying to escape and the road being blocked, which if I didn't read the book I'd be like, "what the hell is your problem, just drive out of town, why are you still there?"

    What really bothered me though, is this - David had these voices he heard, which were meant to be the voice of God. In the movie it was his dead sister talking to him. And one of the coolest parts of the book is when David is passed out and goes up to the land of the dead in his dream and sees a guy in a NY Yankees hat. The guy in the hat tells him the story of the evil going on in Desperation and tells him that he needs to carry out God's work. When he wakes up, Johnny tries to leave and leaves his wallet behind. In going through Johnny's wallet he sees an old picture of Johnny back in Viet Nam and realizes that the guy talking to him in heaven was Johnny when he was younger. He also realizes that back in the day with his pal Brian (who they barely mentioned like I said) they named their tree house the "Viet Cong Lookout" which is where Johnny was killed. It all came together in a really cool way like an episode of Lost and was the coolest thing about the book and NONE OF IT HAPPENED in the movie. Instead, his dead sister showed him the LAMEST silent movie in the projection room of the theater to tell him the story of why the evil exists, and then for some reason he just "knows" he has to finish God's work. Terrible.

    There was so much more that was left out or changed too but I'll be here all day if I go over them all. This movie was God awful. And the worst part is, if I try to tell someone how good the book is and they've seen the movie they're gonna be like, "oh yeah, I saw that on TV. That was pretty bad, no thanks." I mean, that's what I would say if I were them.

    It's amazing to me that Stephen King actually did this Teleplay based on his own book. The book had almost 700 pages and the movie covered about 100 of them and then made up another new 100. If you haven't seen this movie version of "Desperation" then I say you should definitely read the book if you like Stephen King novels. Just for the love of God, stay away from the movie. The movie makes me want to drop-kick someone in the forehead. So corny. So lame.
  • Bob_the_Hobo24 November 2010
    I'm a big fan of Stephen King's Desperation (the novel) so I was excited for the cast when it was released. I was not disappointed.

    Ron Perlman plays Collie Entragian, a Sheriff's Deputy who, along with the rest of the small town of Desperation, has gone through a considerable change. Now he kidnaps anyone near his middle-of-nowhere town, and locks them in his city filled with the dead. Soon we find that he is no longer Collie, in fact something from below has taken over...

    This was a fun movie, very enjoyable. The acting is really good, with Steven Weber, Charles Durning, and Tom Skeritt rounding out the cast besides Perlman. The effects are good as well.

    Overall a good TV movie. Enjoy.
  • First off, I would like to say that Desperation is my all-time favorite book. Then I have to say that, this is a terrible adaptation of it. The book focuses on David Carver's connection to God and how it connects to the events going on in Desperation. Personally, I'm completely agnostic but the way the movie portrays Carver's connection to God is not deep enough. In the novel, it's a lot more than just "I'm doing things because God told me to". That is the biggest flaw in the movie. I could go on and on about how the acting is terrible and the script sounds like it was written by a middle schooler and the cheap special effects for TAK, but i'm just gonna leave it the book, skip the movie
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While driving through the Nevada desert to Salt Lake, the couple Peter Jackson (Henry Thomas) and his wife Mary (Annabeth Gish) are stopped by sheriff Collie Entragian (Ron Pealman) because their car has no license plate in the back. When they open the trunk to get some tools, Collie finds a package of marijuana and arrests the couple, becoming insane and abusive, and the couple claims that they have stolen the car. While driving to the jail of Desperation, the terrified couple sees corpses everywhere in the town; in the entrance of the police station, they see the body of a young girl, and the sheriff shoots and kills Peter. In the jail, Mary sees a couple and their religious son David Carver (Shane Haboucha) and an old local, Tom Billingsley (Charles Durning). Meanwhile the deranged sheriff arrests the successful and arrogant writer John Edward Marinville (Tom Skerritt) that is traveling in his motorcycle through the country promoting lectures. John gives a troubled and jammed call in his cellular to his assistant Steve Ames (Steven Weber), who is following him in a support trunk with the hitchhiker Cynthia Smith (Kelly Overton). When the group of survivors escapes from the jail and meets Steve and Cynthia, David discloses that one hundred and fifty years ago, a group of Chinese slaves released in the cave-in, an earth demon "waisin" called Tak, or the unformed heart. When the mine collapsed, all of them died, but something came out of the mine. The group under the leadership of David and under the protection of God decides to battle against the pagan god Tak and get the world free of his evil.

    "Desperation", as most of the adaptations of Stephen King to the screen, is irregular and may be divided in two parts: the creepy first one is excellent, with Ron Pealman perfect and scary in the role of the common man possessed by a very evil and powerful fiend. When his character vanishes, the story comes downhill, with the weak and expressionless Shane Haboucha performing a strong character that should be the counterpoint to the sheriff, but actually is terrible. Tom Skerritt also seems to be miscast, since the does not fit exactly to the description of Steve Ames. Anyway, "Desperation" is intriguing and above average in the genre, but had potential to be better and better. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): "Desespero" ("Desperation")
  • This has to be, by far, the worst movie adaptation of a Stephen King book ever, and that's definitely saying something.

    The script is absolutely terrible, with the characters saying some of the most unbelievable and bizarre comments that I've ever heard. The acting is sufficiently B grade for a bad horror film, and the plot fantastically predictable.

    One of the most painful things about the movie is the complete lack of a connection between the actors or characters. Where you expect an emotional connection between two characters, there always seems to be a void -- especially between the mother and her son, and the couple in the car. Even when the script indicates a strong emotional connection, there is no spark between the actors.

    Like with most Stephen King adaptations, the storyline skips ahead rapidly in parts, with characters discussing issues which were introduced in the book but omitted in the movie -- so they come as a complete surprise, or just as a confusing side remark that leaves the audience wondering where the heck it suddenly came from. Unless you've read the book, it can make for a disorienting experience.

    Unless you're an absolute masochist, steer clear of this one -- there's absolutely no value in it.
  • Well-done television adaptation of the Stephen King horror novel proves not only to be quite faithful to the novel, but an enjoyable treat for any horror fan.

    Folks driving through rural Nevada are being captured by a crazed policeman, but something far more evil is at work in the town of Desperation.

    Director Mick Garris is no stranger to the works of author Stephen King, in fact I believe this is his sixth film adaptation of one of King's stories. Between Garris directing and King himself having written the screenplay, Desperation comes off as a very faith adaptation that also keeps the same sense of suspense and bizarre atmosphere of the novel. It's a completely gripping tale that benefits from a mysterious set-up and some likable characters. The filming locations, music, and special FX (which are occasionally gory) are all excellent.

    The cast is also quite good. Tom Skerritt, Annabeth Gish, and Steven Weber turn in good performances as some unlikely heroes. Ron Perlman is terrifically creepy as our warped villain. However the greatest performance of all is that of young Shane Haboucha as a spiritually-guided young victim.

    All-around, Desperation is a solidly done horror-thriller that delivers on all fronts. A must-see for Stephen King fans.

    *** out of ****
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I haven't read the book which is an adaptation of Stephen King to the screen so I can't tell you how close to it this film is. However there are many blanks and failures in the plot which can make you really confused and angry with it.

    But what stroke me most was the fact that it was the first movie I've ever seen which is called thriller and involves god and religion so much at times that you feel you are watching an informative show about religion being led by a 15 years old boy who seems to know the gist but gets entangled at the same time.

    What really annoyed me was that stupid correlation with TAK "god" which makes ordinary people wonder "this film involves the god we all know with... ghosts(!) (are there any ghosts really?) and other(!) gods (exept the one we think that only exists?).. Personally I got irritated by all these.. Of course it's just a film and we are not supposed to believe in anything, but when you realize that it is reality and widely accepted truths that are mixed with myths and ridiculous lies you reasonably get furious...

    Lastly, I want to add the fact that just when you relax and "travel" with all these theological issues that unfold at specific points, you get upset with quick and abrupt turns (where blood, horrible faces, corpses and nasty voices occur). You can say "Hey! it's a thriller, what did you expected?". Well, OK I agree! It's just that jumble with "fragile" issues like faith that I hate most! On the other hand, I feel obliged to highlight the incredibly excellent performance of that young actor Shane Haboucha - David which captivated me! The only reason I give that rate to the movie is for that boy! Perhaps I'm not the best person to judge actors but I found pretty amazing how well he acted and performed such a complicated and emotion-filled role!
  • When Stephen King's work started being turned into movies, they were always great, but the newer stuff, has really been hit or miss. For the first hour, Desperation was great and Ron Pearlman was hilarious as the twisted sheriff, abducting people on the highway. Unfortunately, about half way through this film, the movie changes focus to young David, played by the kid from the Stacy's Mom video, Shane Haboucha. David is some kind of prophet who is more aware of things than the other. That was cool, but his constant ramblings about God, and spouting of all this religious garbage got really annoying. By the time things built up to the end, I was so annoyed with this little kid and his ramblings that I just didn't care about what was going to happen. I just wanted the film to be over. Desperation is just another case of a writer and an actor taking things too far, to a point where it taints the whole movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I thought the pseudo-theology presented here was unbelievable, unconvincing and TAKed together badly. If you read the book, maybe you can help me patch things together, because the movie certainly didn't. What is TAK? As a deity, he's pathetic. You can go to his home and blow it up... most gods don't have an actual residence, or talk to you in electronic-sounding colloquialisms. Too bad his, umm, hole got violated though. Are all animals pretty much subject to him, indiscriminately? Is he based on ANYTHING at all? Native American? What did the 2 Chinese miners have to do with him? Did they simply unleash him and get taken over, was TAK supposed to be of Asian origin? Did they bring him there? What? Why were there dead bodies everywhere, but that select little group (unharmed) in the jail? Why not just kill them right away? How does it make sense to kill the little girl and leave the grown-ups alive? I was waiting to see what the predictable group of strangers had in common, but there wasn't anything. "Collie Entragian" - I thought maybe that name was supposed to be a clue, or a joke I didn't get. Still not sure... Another great name was "Pie," the soap-carrying ghost sister. David seemed like a sad Christian reincarnation of (what's his name, the kid from the Shining). What's with Stephen King and his fixation on kids with eerie powers and pseudo-divine connections anyway (Shining, Pet Sematary, Firestarter)? And will he ever just get over himself, and do something that does not involve a writer as a main character? Doesn't this seem a bit recycled?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Desperation starts out as a promising thriller that plays like a combination of The Hitcher (1986) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). A couple driving through the Nevada desert are being harassed and soon arrested by a menacing deputy, suitably overacted by Ron Pearlman. Suddenly however, the movie turns into something much less exciting. Not to give too much away, the focus of the plot turns to a young boy named David, hell-bent on religion.

    Horror films have a great, inherent potential for dealing with religious themes in an intelligent way. Unfortunately, Desperation screws it up. The worst part is not the painfully obvious references to the Bible, such as multiple close-ups of sardine cans (mirroring the feeding of the five thousand), but the feeble, folksy theology preached by the ever-praying David. The endless one-liners and dialogues concerning God's qualities are about as profound as a Jesus Saves!-bumper sticker in purple Comic Sans.

    David doesn't even seem to be scared of the supernatural villain, but faces it and its enslaved minions with a strange resolve reminiscent of a parody of Jesus. Courage is not the absence of fear, said Ambrose Redmoon. And after we learn that God is on their side, we cease to care about the characters, recognizing that they will emerge as victors even in the case of gory death.

    (There is a scene involving an old, black-and-white film, which could be genuinely spooky – that is if it did not yield in to modern cinematography and CGI.)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was debating watching this new mini, but I'm glad I did. I like the book, with some reservations. I hate the way Stephen King kills off small children. That just doesn't set well with me. Having said that, it is still a good story and is well written. The t.v. adaptation was very true to the book and I thought well put together. Mr. King is certainly improving his screen play writing abilities. The dialog flowed well and was easy to follow, as opposed to "The Stand" (which I dearly love despite its many flaws) where sometimes the dialog left you wondering if the characters were even in the same scene.

    I found the scenes with the spiders and snakes to be especially scary and well done. I thought the acting was good and Ron Perlman's performance was excellent. As usual, there was enough humor at the right times to break the tension where needed. Overall, a good result.
  • aghosh6914 December 2006
    So I am a big fan of Stephen King novels and movies alike and there is rarely a time i argue about a movie that deviates from a book. I haven't read the book before I watched the movie and still there was something very off about it. I should have been aware that Stephen King movies like to keep a low profile on the movie synopsis and it was a treat to see how well this movie started off. It was good... till the lead up to the conclusion. I couldn't help but comment on Ron Pearlman's character (and obviously the actors acting that brought the character to life. Had a good suspense and definitely an attention grabbing flow to the movie. But the ending... it seemed rushed.. there was too many questions and there was never a proper explanation (hell there was no explanation) for this... this... weird phenomena. Of course considering its something like another portal and supernatural but there was never really a very good connection between the questioning of faith in God and this bizarre incident. The ending was waay too rushed and the cool setup of "Tack" by Pearlman suddenly became a big time wuss... this movie would have made it to a 5 had it not disappointed me so much with the conclusion... Still its a movie anyone can enjoy and of course not all would find it as disappointing as I did.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The first half of the movie can be described as interesting. Ron Perlman plays the role of a possessed cop, who has built his web like a spider on the town Desperation and the main road. He preys on travelers, catching them in his prison to use them as future hosts. Because the demon possessing him uses up the human bodies quickly.

    After catching quite a few people and killing some of them for... entertainment, I guess, he finds his mortal enemy in a boy. I forgot the name of the kid, but his message keeps ringing in my ears since he insists in repeating it for the rest of the movie in countless occasions. "Love god, trust him and endure whatever he wishes to bring upon you. Always do, whatever he asks without doubting anything." I'm not a religious man, but that isn't even what was annoying me. It was the hypocrisy. They spend time talking about the "free will", only to sum up that mankind is supposed to give up this free will and become nothing more than a puppet or slave to an omnipotent being. Which - even according to the movie - may or may not slay or save everyone at whim. Like a kid playing with toys and occasionally breaking some of them.

    Anyway, the fight between the demon and the humans isn't bad. It fulfills its purpose. The background story is kind of lazy though. They included some content with the former Chinese workers and the mine where the demon was accidentally freed some hundred or more years ago. And just when you might start getting curious about it one of them asks "What's the goal of the demon?" to which the boy answers "Does't matter. We only care about what god wants". They didn't even take the time to explain that. Like I said, lazy.

    Without these flaws it could have been a good movie, but as it is you might want to look for something better to spent your time on.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I loved Desperation and The Regulators, well, the books anyway. So when I saw that a made-for-TV film based on Desperation was out there, I felt compelled to check it out.

    The characters read very much the same dialogue from the book (the teleplay was written by King), but they lack the conviction and emotional balance that was a big part of the book. The way they look has been accurately captured in the film, especially with Collie Entragian. Ron Perlman was definitely the man for the job.

    Unfortunately, the film fails to keep any kind of pace and the suspense and tension are wasted. I didn't feel a whole lot for the characters and wasn't sad to see a lot of them wiped out by Tak.

    The Stand was of a far better quality than this, so there's no excuse as to why this couldn't have been done here.

    A bit lazy, really.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There are better King books, but this is one I always reread. So of course I wanted to see how this one turned out, and while it's not awful viewed on its own merits, they completely missed what made the book so compelling. And that is the boy David's(Shane Haboucha) relationship with God.

    It starts out well enough in the first hour. Peter and Mary Jackson are stopped by a cop on their way back to New York, the cop notices a bag of pot belonging to Peter's sister, yadda yadda, all hell breaks loose. Ron Perlman plays the possessed schizo cop exactly, with some parts menace and a whole helluva lot of giddiness. He's rounding up people for unknown reasons in a jail cell, and you later find out that he's been taken over by a buried entity called Tak, which Chinese miners let out about a century ago, and was just discovered again the days before. Alright...weird, I know, but now that plot's outta the way...

    The other groups he rounds up is the Carver family, who all give pretty solid performances. Matt Frewer (My life for you!!) plays the God-crazy boy David's father, gives what is probably the only normal acting job. It's not rife with bad attempts as wit, just a dude who's losing his family and is going through hell.

    Shane Haboucha SEEMS like he's giving a go at the same thing (and he CAN act, quite good, I've seen him on Law & Order, CSI, and Monk), but both the script and the director (Mick Garris, in his sixth Stephen King adaptation) seemed to pass him off as a breathy, holier than thou zealot that's totally unlike the book's version of David. There, he's simply mature for his age, and intelligent, but in the movie it's hard to even see him as a kid at all. It's like he's doing a bad impression of a middle aged evangelist, and he doesn't seem at all crushed as his family (starting with his little sister) is thrown to the side on God's will like flimsy paper cups.

    Someone who should've taken more center stage is Johnny Marinville, played by Tom Skerrit. In the book (I know, I know, all this "in the book" bullcrap, but I can't find why they changed it) he's a straight up smartass, and you love him for it.

    Because really, he's the only one who's along with the reader, thinking all of this is totally out there. But here, you only see him as a coward in a flashback, never the leader as he comes off as in the book. He was a good character because of it, a layered character, but that was excluded as well.

    In terms of the effects and the gore, it's all surprisingly very much intact. Perlman's degradation is shown wonderfully, and the violence (corpses swinging from fans, pencils in the eyes, the kid's ear's bleeding after squeezing his head through the cell bars) isn't shied away from. Does it make up for what's lost from the book? No, but you see they were trying at least.

    The good moments were kept- David's escape and killing of the coyote, the cop's crazy behavior, and the last China Pit scene were exact.

    Anabeth Gesh and Steve Weber turn in crap performance, Gesh being the worst of the two. There wasn't a moment where her lines weren't making my eyes roll. Weber tries attempts at being a smart aleck and fails at it.

    But the worst part about it is how they handled David's total story. For one thing, the scene where he asks "What no one dares to ask for", to bring his friend out of a coma, was way too brief and simple. It doesn't show that he converted, and it wasn't exactly clear that David owed God something because of it. And they didn't show destroying Tak WASN'T all that important; God was simply offended by it, and wanted it gotten rid of.

    In that way, God was a character in the book. A little selfish, and plenty demanding. "Sane people don't believe in God", a line I liked from the book, is totally changed around in the movie when David says "Believing in God is sane". Er...alright.

    They use the book's "God is cruel" message here, but you never believe it. In the movie, you have the feeling that God really is doing things for the better, when he really isn't. He took advantage of David's prayers, in a way.

    And the last thing. A lot of people complained that David never seemed that disturbed by the deaths of his family throughout. Well, that's because he's under the idea that God would take him last, and that he'd be with them in the end. No dice. Like Johnny said, "Sometimes he makes us live", and the thought of David later having to cope with that so young was the most affecting part of the whole book. He's totally alone now. But here, he just sort of shrugs, thinks "Oh well, God did it, so it's not THAT bad...".

    Phew...I'm not religious at all, but the way it was handled in the book was fascinating, and the fact that they totally missed they mark was the movies downfall. See it for the first hour, then watch as it all crumbles without the proper care it needed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have seen this movie, and I read some of the boards. I have to agree with many that this was one of the worst adaptations I have ever seen and I cannot believe that Stephen King actually let this thing go through to production. While it is true I did not read the book, if it was as bad as the movie, I feel sorry for all of you who slogged through it. This being said, I have to say that I also did not read "Misery", "Cujo", "The Green Mile", "Shawshank Redemption", "Stand By Me", ad infinitum. There were also VERY many I DID read however, including The Dead Zone, The Stand, It, Salem's Lot, ad infinitum, and EVERYTHING that I have seen before THIS (including the fore-mentioned that I did not read) movie has never been less than excellent. I believe in this whole thing I must blame the director. The director, and the producer, are ultimately the ones to blame for a movie making it or failing. Even Creepshow was better produced and directed than this thing and it was obviously on a lower budget. I found the dialog somewhat stilted and the boy a bit farcical. The religious aspect ("We must love God and Serve God", "God is cruel", "God must be everything" trichotomy) was a bit hard to stomach. I'm wondering where Mr. King is headed these days. I just hope that Stephen King comes out of his depression over this movie quite soon and gets back to his old form.
  • sktshorty22 September 2006
    Horrible. i definitely expected much more and was disappointed in this movie. when i first heard of it finally coming out i was anticipating a good 2 hour 30 minute movie in the theaters with a harsh R rating. when i did see it on TIVO i fell asleep and didn't miss much. the movie didn't hit the detail described in the book. which would help some people get into it and would actually explain more of what had and is happening. great disappointment in relation to the book, which is about my favorite of all time. remake anytime soon??? i only hope they would consider someday. or it will be like 30 years till it happens like most remakes. Be glad i was generous with the 2 star rating...
  • Desperation time, alright. Ron Pearlman hams it up in what appears to be a satire of his own satire character, Hellboy. Annabeth Gish and Tom Skerrit aren't bad in their roles, but the paper thin script and atrocious direction give them very little to do. The remaining cast members blandly deliver expository lines that lead nowhere.

    Stephen King has had both success and failure in adapting other books he has written for the screen. This one goes to the goof-ups list. The script meanders wildly, without any cohesion. It's hard to take anything seriously, as the same slick-wannabe camera work shows us people towering like giants from an ant's point of view. Why things are happening as they are? You won't know, and you probably won't care, either. Clichés like the old "evil entity possessing a peace officer" routine are rampant.

    Still, it can pass the time if you're really bored. But don't expect much.
  • Stephen King's books have a habit of being hit and miss when they make the transfer from paper to the screen. In fact, more of them have been 'misses' that 'hits.' This one falls into that grey area somewhere in between.

    As per usual, anyone who's read the book 'Desperation' is based on laments how it's been interpreted on the big screen. I hear it's best to just read the book. It was supposed to be a two (or more?) part TV mini series, but, in the end, got turned into a 'made-for-TV' movie. It runs at about two and half hours and – sometimes – feels every bit as long.

    It's about a collection of various characters who all get (unfairly) 'caught' by – the slightly unhinged – Sheriff of a town in the middle of nowhere, subtly called 'Desperation.' Then, once incarcerated inside his cells, they have to come up with a way of escaping from more than just the immediate bars that surround them.

    First of all, it's worth mentioning that we have Ron Perlman on the cast list, who – as usual – turns in a brilliant performance as the afore-mentioned nutter-Sheriff. Any fans of Ron's will enjoy the film just on his appearance. However, what's left is good and bad as the rag-tag band of survivors try to figure out what happened. It's a bit like The Stand, only not as long and therefore with a 'rushed' feel in places and 'not enough information' in others.

    Also, it's worth noting that the film relies heavily on 'God' to move the plot forwards. Atheists beware – they may get a little tired of everything the Almighty doing being right all the time.

    It's not a great King adaptation, but it's certainly not the worst either. Enjoy it for its perks and do your best to forgive it for the parts when it drags a bit.
  • SUBSTANDARD ACTING & FX. however ... for the most part, like most Stephen King movies (not all), this was a B-rate film! Having read the "Regulators" by Stephen King but not "Desperation" by Richard Bachman (King's pseudo name). I was left wondering why the 2 don't quite match up ... or perhaps they do! In the film, "Desperation", God is a character with no equivalent in the book, "The Regulators". And in "The Regulators", Seth is a character with no equivalent in "Desperation". Or... is the Seth character the parallel universe equivalent of the God character in "Desperation"? If you've read them and are familiar with Seth -- you can certainly see a parallel between the two as Supreme & All Powerful Creator. The first hour of this film, is utter garbage, but it picks up immensely via use of Black & White flashback footage, that shows the viewing audience how the demon, "Tak", was unleashed from deep within the Nevada Silver Mines in the first place. This film adaptation only rates 2 stars in my book. NUFF SAID!
  • wryterzblock31 January 2013
    Desperation is my favorite Stephen King book. And this movie, if you want to call it that, is quite possibly the worst adaptation of a King work that I've ever seen.

    At first I wanted to blame it on the fact that it was a movie made for television. But that's not true; IT was also a TV movie, and it was spectacular.

    For having what was not a horrible gathering of acting talent at all, Desperation just seemed REALLY cheesy. Even Ron Perlman, who can ham it up like nobody's business and make it look awesome, made me cringe.

    Don't waste your time with this. And PLEASE do not judge the book by this movie. Desperation the book is a thrilling and moving piece of work. Desperation the movie is just a piece of...
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