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Gerald's Game (2017)

Gerald's Game


While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame.


Well, the synopsis says it all. Pretty much the entire running time is devoted to Jessie handcuffed to the bed. But wait - it's not that simple. Based on a Stephen King book, Gerald's Game is about Jessie trying to escape sometimes aided, sometimes hindered by two figments of her imagination, personified by her late husband and by herself. Fundamentally, the film consists of a woman in an impossible situation bouncing ideas off of herself. It's a clever concept, and exceptionally well done. I'll be upfront: I've not read the book, but, I have it on authority that the film is pretty close to it.

With this concept, if the source material is good, then the film balances on the screenplay, the direction, and the acting, and we know the source is good. The screenplay is excellent - how much of it is lifted directly from King, I don't know, but Mike Flanagan (Oculus) who directed and co-wrote did an astonishing job. It's not easy to weigh 95% of a film on two people talking in a room.

Jessie is played by Carla Gugino (Watchmen) and she does a cracking job. She gives tired, frightened, confused, weak, strong. Her performance is second to none. But coming in a close second is her husband, Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek 2009) who personifies her more destructive thoughts. And play the bastard he does.

There is more to the story than I'll go into here (spoiler free), but the film does what it sets out to do. It's terrifying on many levels. It touches on subjects that most film shy away from. I was unsure going into it that I would enjoy it, based on the concept - but I'm so glad I gave it a go.

It's a film that plays on the viewers fears. Isolation. Death. Restrained.

Character driven horror doesn't get better than this.

A quick shout out to Jeff Howard (Ouija: Origin of Evil)- the other screenplay co-writer. Good job.

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