if you didn't know better you might mistake this as a stephen king movie. a dated one by now. they even poke some fun at the man which seems a bit ironic.
i liked this movie a lot when i first saw it but now, well it hasn't held up so well. all the actors come across as cartoons. only sam neill manages to rise above it, but only in brief moments. for a horror movie, even a "thriller", this is not a good thing. it probably was considered fine at the time. we've moved on.
still its not a bad movie and remains enjoyable.
the plot is about a private investigator who is hired to find a missing author. of course you have to take it with a grain of salt because the investigator, neill character, is good at finding cons and how they're done. so the company who hires him is obviously looking to trick him if they can and add publicity to the writer's upcoming novel. so sam and the secretary/editor, set off to find a fictional place written about in the books...and they find said fictional place. they also find the writer who has become some sort've god figure who is writing them into the story. meanwhile from the beginning theres a subplot of sorts where the books might be causing "susceptible people" to go mad after reading them. so in the end you know you're gonna be left with this "is he mad or not?" question and this is no surprise because we see sam's character admitted to a psychiatric facility in the opening scene. he asks "is its getting worse outside?" and refuses to be let out saying its safer inside.
good plot hooks, not terribly well delivered, and marred by the comic book portrayal. i'm surprised this doesn't get shown on TV. of course they don't really show movies anymore just reality TV. you're definitely better off watching this!