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Secret Window is a psychological thriller film, starring Johnny Depp and John Turturro. It was written and directed by David Koepp, based on the novella Secret Window, Secret Garden by Stephen King.

Mystery writer Mort Rainey is severely depressed and in the middle of a divorce. He’s been holed up in his cabin for weeks when John Shooter from Mississippi arrives and accuses Mort of plagiarizing his story. Shooter demands retribution. Mort insists he wrote his story first, but makes futile attempts to prove it. He finally tells Shooter he’ll send for a copy of the Ellery Queen magazine issue in which Mort's story was published, and this will prove his was written first. Shooter agrees this will settle the matter, but while Shooter waits for the magazine to arrive, people begin turning up dead.

Tropes used in Secret Window include:


 Mort: Well, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't on the verge of doing Snoopy dances.

  • Death by Adaptation: Amy and Ted. In the novella, Mort died instead.
  • Dream Sequence
  • Foreshadowing
  • Kick the Dog: Poor Chico.
    • Often hits as Fridge Horror for first time watchers because they tend to forget the dog in the rest of the chaos and then remember at the end that if Mort and Shooter are the same person, then Mort killed his own dog.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Watch the movie again after the Tomato in the Mirror ending, and you'll see it's all over the place.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Mort's closing monologue to the police sheriff.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Mort believes that Ted is using this trope, noting that the town Ted comes from has the word "Shooter" in it. It is revealed that Mort himself was making up parts of Shooter's personality from things in his daily life.
  • Meaningful Name: Shooter's Shoot Her.
    • Additionally, "mort" is French for "death", although this may have been unintentional as his full name is "Morton".
  • Meta Fiction: Not a particularly extreme example: it's a film (originally novella) about someone writing a short story.
  • Nice Hat: Shooter wears one.
  • Not Proven: The sheriff and by extension the whole town. Everyone just knows Mort killed at least two people but without solid evidence, there's nothing to be done.
  • Once More, with Clarity: Shooter and Mort continually quote the closing lines of Shooter's original version of the story, the meaning of which only becomes apparent at the end. Additionally, Mort continually has flashbacks to when he discovered his wife was cheating on him; only the last of these revealed he threatened her and her boyfriend with a gun.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Mort and Ted's at the gas station.
  • Reality Subtext: Being an adaptation of a Stephen King novella, obligatory references to alcoholism and drug abuse are present. Additionally, King himself faced several (apparently groundless) accusations of plagiarism prior to writing the novel, including some from some rather enthusiastic fans who physically threatened him.
  • Red Herring: Ted.
  • Revised Ending: The film's ending is completely different to that of the novella.
  • Room Full of Crazy
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Mort in the film.
  • Split Personality: Mort. The story ends in Split Personality Takeover and The Killer in Me.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Mort is Shooter.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Amy walking into Mort's completely trashed house is pretty careless to start with, but she tops it of by not warning her lover Ted that a crazed killer is waiting around the corner for him. Saying just one word could have saved them both.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Mountain Dew and Doritos for Mort. This has progressed to corn by the end. Yes, this warrants a spoiler.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Mort
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