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Stephen Kings Desperation Review

Updated on June 24, 2020

Stephen King's Desperation (2006) review

This was a made for TV film, and you can tell right from the start. That is just about my only criticism, to be honest. I thought this was a very good story and I like the way it unraveled throughout the film. There were several elements that made this movie great, and overall I thoroughly enjoyed it. Stephen King is a master of his craft, and I am always impressed by him.


Desperation (2006) was directed by Mick Garris and the screenplay was written by Stephen King. It stars Ron Perlman, Tom Skerritt, Steven Weber and Annabeth Gish. Peter and Mary are a married couple driving through the Nevada desert when they are pulled over by a police officer. The officer finds a bag of marijuana in their trunk and arrests them, but there is something strange about this cop. As they drive through the nearby town of Desperation, they get the feeling that something is very wrong. The main street is a ghost town, and there are bodies scattered about. Mary and Peter soon discover that an evil has been unleashed on this small town, but will they make it out alive?


Stephen King is hands down the greatest horror writer ever, in my opinion. I started reading his novels at around 13 years old, and I still read them from time to time at the age of 39. The thing that impresses me the most about Mr. King is how layered and interconnected all his stories are, and how I am still being surprised by his work, even today. This film brought a healthy amount of King's splendidly morbid universe to the screen, and it really felt like this was a story for the fans. For me, there was an obvious and solid connection between Desperation and The Shining. In fact, the premise between the two films is actually quite similar.


The ensemble cast did a great job bringing this story to life, but for me the standout performance was definitely Ron Perlman. His portrayal of a possessed psychopath policeman was chilling and creepy, but also at times over the top and kinda silly. He was a perfect choice for the role. Another disturbing aspect about this movie was all the creepy crawlies. I hate snakes, spiders and scorpions, so of course all three are running rampant in this film. It just adds a creepy layer that makes the whole film more disturbing which is awesome.


Overall, this is a really good film, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good scary movie with some heart. The true King fans, however, will appreciate this film on a whole other level.

Film trivia

  • Desperation is a TV movie that had a budget of 12 million dollars.
  • This film was produced by Touchstone Television and distributed by ABC. It was released on May 23, 2006.
  • This film was shot in Arizona, USA.
  • This is the sixth Stephen King story that Mick Garris has directed as a feature or TV movie. The previous 5 are Sleepwalkers, The Stand, The Shining (TV mini-series), Quicksilver Highway (episode "Chattery Teeth) and Riding the Bullet.
  • On December 10, 2004, a set in the Tucson Convention Center (TCC) being used to film a mine collapse, caught fire when the special effects department made a mistake. Five people were injured, two of which were hospitalized. The fire destroyed everything on the set, including all of the production gear and equipment, and the TCC sustained heavy water and smoke damage. The invitations to the premiere screening said "the film that set Tucson on fire."
  • The film was originally written to air as a two part miniseries, but the ABC network chose instead to show the entire film in one evening in a three hour time slot.
  • Stephen King was reportedly annoyed that the ABC Network decided to show the film on the same evening that the popular TV series "American Idol" aired. King blamed the networks poor scheduling decision for the disappointing ratings that Desperation received.
  • Though never revealed on-screen, the name of the Carver's young daughter is Kirsten. David Carver only refers to her by the nickname "Pie" in the film.
  • Stephen King's original novel was released simultaneously with "The Regulators", written by King's alter ego, Richard Bachman. Though the story and location are different, many characters appear in both novels.
  • A cop played by Ron Perlman also appears in Stephen King's Sleepwalkers (1992).

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