The film moves with a brisk, taut pace thanks to director Rob Reiner, who helmed another excellent Stephen King film, Stand By Me. Tension is kept mostly throughout (there are some predictable moments...but who cares?) And the performances are also a major plus. James Caan is very easy to empathize with, and he manages to keep his cynical sense of humor. Richard Farnsworth, as a grizzled sheriff was a nice addition to the film since his character didn't exist in the book. He also has a nice sense of humor, and he's the kind of guy who you want to root for. But the most amazing performance is from Kathy Bates, who treads a fine line alternating between sweet and lovable to amazingly evil. She won an Oscar for this movie, and whole-heartedly deserved it.
Side note: This is one of the few films which took an Oscar, that you can actually say the Academy had the guts to give out. Can anyone name another horror film which won such a notable prize?
ANyway...by the end, the novelist and the viewer or put through some torturous activity. We sometimes feel his pain, and it is so much fun to hate this woman................the book is excellent.....the movie is just as good in about 1/6th of the time it would take to read. Either way, enjoy!