Gerald’s Game is the first Stephen King adaptation for Netflix. It’s a psychological horror film based on his 1992 novel. It’s directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush), starring Carla Gugino (Sin City, Watchmen) and Bruce Greenwood (Double Jeopardy). It falls under the subgenre of survival horror, where we have our main character in peril and desperately trying to find a way out. In my opinion, this is one of the best adaptations of Stephen King’s work I’ve ever seen.
The film opens with a married couple, Gugino’s Jessie and Greenwood’s Gerald, on a weekend getaway. We see them trying some more risque things in the bedroom to spice up their sex life. In the process, they start to fight as Jessie doesn’t seem totally on board with the level of kinkiness. Gerald then has a heart attack, and dies. No spoiler here, it’s in the trailer. This is where the suspense starts to really set in. Jessie is handcuffed to the bed, alone and in a remote location. With no help in sight and no access to a phone, food, or water…the time is ticking on her survival.
As the movie progresses, Carla Gugino gives one of the best performances I’ve seen from her. She struggles with inner conflict along the way, SPOILER ALERT:
past memories of an abusive father (played by Henry Thomas-Elliott from E.T.), hallucinations of her dead husband, and possibly Death (played by Carel Struycken-Lurch from the Addams Family films) prematurely visiting her. Oh, and let’s not forget there is a stray dog who has wandered in to pick the flesh off her dead husband’s rotting corpse.
The film really plays out like you are reading a King novel, which can be good and bad. The addition of the eclipse storyline seems a little unnecessary, as well as the ending when we find out the truth about who “Death” really was. Overall though, I loved Gerald’s Game! It was suspenseful, and not over the top gory. Those are the perfect horror films in my opinion. Head on over to Netflix and check out Gerald’s Game, it’s a great way to start October and get you in the Halloween mood.