Gerald's Game - 2017
Gerald’s Game is directed and edited by Mike Flanagan following up his commercial and critical success of 2016’s Ouija: Origin of Evil. Flanagan, with Jeff Howard, also wrote the screenplay adapting a novel from Stephen King of the same name, making it the third King film adaptation of 2017. The movie stars Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood and Henry Thomas. The story centers around a couple trying to spice-up their love life, when the husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to the bed.
Mike Flanagan continues to prove that he has a great eye for horror movies. What I most enjoy from all his films is the editing. This movie largely takes place in a bedroom with a character having a mental breakdown due to dehydration. Despite there not being anything traditionally exciting, I was completely enthralled by everything that was occurring. His editing plays heavily; he established a tone from the beginning and was able to maintain it all the way to the end… well, close to the end (I’ll elaborate later).
While the plot is as simple as you can get - a woman trapped, trying to survive/escape - it’s much more complex than I expected it to be. In all fairness, most if not all of King’s books tend to feel this way, like this year’s mega hit It. On the surface, it’s a bunch of kids fighting of a killer demon-clown, but it deals with far darker and sensitive subjects. Gerald’s Game is no exception. I won’t ruin the entire experience just in case you aren’t familiar with the source material, but it’s definitely a smart and intriguing study on the chains we put on ourselves by hiding from our past. This binds us to relive them instead of growing from them and helping others in similar situations.
This is the best Carla Gugino performance I have ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, she is a fine actress and I enjoyed her in multiple movies, but I have never been so blown away with anything she has done before. She is practically in 98% of this movie’s runtime. For the most part, she has to play a completely broken, distraught and vulnerable character. As an audience member, watching her go through this ordeal made me tense up to the point that I was screaming at my TV on the things she needed to do to escape. Bruce Greenwood also delivered on the goods as her counterpart. After he dies, he comes to her as a vision due to her dehydration. His line delivery and how he antagonized her was great and perfectly complemented her performance.
Quick note: this movie would have failed in the hands of other actors. Hopefully more roles to come for both.
Let’s talk about the end. I felt like a judge at the Olympics watching a young, determined figure skater. The figure skater has been flawlessly delivering one of the hardest routines, only to fall on the last jump. Sure, I would love to still give them a 10 out of 10 score, but rules are rules, and if you fell on your face you lose points off your overall score. No gold for you. Gerald’s Game not only fell on its face, it fell through the ice, caught hyperthermia and lost a toe. What was a tension filled ride with an intense character study became a voiceover that would be best served in a Hallmark movie of the week. Sure, you can say its adapted straight from the book, but this falls on Flanagan to see how this ending breaks the great tone he had established from the beginning.
Gerald’s Game is still a very entertaining movie, elevated by an incredible performance from Carla Gugino. Even with the huge flaw brought on by the ending, I still find it to be one of the best adaptations King’s novel. Carla Gugino is why I love movies.
Gerald’s Game is currently streaming on Netflix. No really, it’s not a game, it really is playing on Netflix.
If you like this review let me know in the comment section down below. Also, follow me over at Twitter (@yILovemovies) or over on Facebook, so you can be up to date with all my reviews.