What happens when you combine the horror mind of Stephen King with the bedroom antics of “Fifty Shades of Grey?” You get “Gerald’s Game.”
Released in October 2017 as a Netflix Original Movie, “Gerald’s Game” is based off of King’s 1992 novel – one I had not been familiar with – and proves how masterful the author is at telling a chilling story.
“Gerald’s Game” stars the beautiful Carla Gugino and veteran Bruce Greenwood as married couple Jessie and Gerald, who venture to a secluded house in effort to rekindle their struggling marriage. In a scenario only Stephen King could conjure, Gerald dies of a heart attack – with Jessie helplessly handcuffed to the bed.
One may question how an entire movie or novel could depict a woman handcuffed to a bed but “Gerald’s Game” proves creativity at its finest. While Jessie is bedridden, she experiences hallucinations in the form of herself offering advise, and husband Gerald taunting her throughout – among other things.
Both actors are great in their respective roles and are virtually the only characters in the story. Carla Gugino perfectly embodies Jessie and her heinous and unimaginable predicament as she goes through various stages of grief, terror, and panic as one would expect. Bruce Greenwood is solid as the loving though dominant Gerald, his ghostly form taking turns mocking and sympathizing with her situation.
As Jessie’s mind begins to wander, more deeper routed and sinister elements are introduced. The story has a style similar to other King works “Misery” in the two character format (one of which is in bed) and “Cujo” due to the presence of a ravenous wild canine that makes itself known.
“Gerald’s Game” has some scares, but falls more in the line of suspense thriller. The story has deeper issues than you may initially think from the premise. Director Mike Flanagan does well with what he has to work with – a woman tied to a bed in a single room – and is able to present the story in an effective and chilling way. One early scene displays just how harrowing the situation is as Jessie begins screaming for help only to pan outside and show just how secluded she really is.
“Gerald’s Game” is an interesting story and makes for a fun watch. It lacks the high level of scares one may expect from a Stephen King story, but the thrills and suspense make up for it. It can be streamed on Netflix and is worth checking out.
by – Matt DeCristo