Johnny Depp plays in it, yet it is far from being one of Stephen King’s best screen adaptations. It’s about an alcoholic writer with a hot temper who is extremely lazy and who actually doesn’t write all that much. A few surprises along the way make this film better than it first appears to be. It’s a straightfoward story and it is a tad predictable. Depp is the best thing about it.
The cast, the shooting locations and the special effects are in limited amounts. Writer/director David Koepp keeps it simple. He shoots this film the way Hitchcock did; by having fun with the camera, by putting all his efforts on dialogue and by maintaining suspense. Writing, Jack Daniels, a motel, a killer; those elements are near and dear to Stephen King.
If you’re a King completist, a young horror aficionado looking for a gateway, or if you like thrillers with a drop of horror, then this is a movie for you. The film is flawed but possesses many redeeming qualities, like the way it is structured so the audience can solve the mystery with clues intentionally scattered from beginning to end... and what an ending!