I cannot guarantee that Netflix’s newest movie, ‘Gerald’s Game’ – based on Stephen King’s 1992 novel of the same name (and the third adaptation this year after ‘The Dark Tower’ and ‘It’) – is an easy watch; (as with most captivity thrillers) but if one were to get through a hodgepodge of ghostly visions, insanity, and a climax that I could describe as disturbingly and grotesquely unnerving for a film of its caliber, as I did, he or she will feel the epiphany of its themes in a way no horror movie has tried. Writer/Director Mike Flanagan (‘Oculus’, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’) makes ‘Gerald’s Game’ play out like a Bob Ross painting; it may not seem like much in the beginning, but once near completion, the picture is clear, and the beauty can be fully realized. It is amazing how something so simple can make you see things differently when all is said and done.
‘Gerald’s Game’ is less of a horror movie, and more of a thought-provoking struggle to survive; both physically and emotionally. Albeit tamer than ‘Saw’, yet as breathless as ‘127 Hours’. It is a captivity story that pushes boundaries as well as gives us an insight into our heroine’s psyche. Jessie (Carla Gugino – in what many say is “a career-defining performance) is a heroine faced with her own captive nightmare after her husband, the titular Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) dies of a heart attack while trying (and failing) to spice up their sex life, leaving her handcuffed to the bed, with nothing but visions of Gerald, herself, a ghostly figure who she calls the “Moonlight Man” (Carel Struycken), and a hungry dog she tried to feed earlier to occupy her. We also get to delve into her past as we see the relationship between her at a young age (played by Chiara Aurelia) and her father (Henry Thomas – A.K.A. Elliott from ‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’)
With this much story and interaction, King’s source material seems more fit for a stage play than a Netflix original movie. Sooner or later, one mind will read King’s novel and place it where it belongs. As for now,we are stuck with streaming services, while I remain stuck with an urge to check out the novel.