This latest thriller from writer-director David Koepp (who wrote The Trigger Effect
and Stir of Echoes
) has a rather familiar “twist” ending, but its teasing, slithering suspense and spikes of wry humor keep it continually enthralling. Johnny Depp, spending significant time in a frayed bathrobe, provides yet another strong and finely tuned performance as an author who is experiencing severe writer’s block, a traumatic divorce and consecutive bad-hair days. A psychotic hick (John Turturro) appears at his rural cabin and home away from home, accuses him of stealing his story and threatens violence if the troubled scribe does not change the story back to its alleged original ending and get it republished. Koepp gives the Stephen King story on which the script is based a playful Twilight Zone
-meets-Alfred-Hitchcock spin that somehow manages to be both conventional and refreshing.