For years Gerald’s Game was widely considered unfilmable. Hell, even after I read the book, which I did after the movie came out; I was left thinking “how are they going to pull this off?” Enter Mike Flanagan. Flanagan (Hush, Occulus) not only turned Gerald’s Game into a movie, he turned it into a good movie.
The main reason it was considered unfilmable is that the majority of the story is inside the main characters head. After Gerald dies the rest is basically a stream of consciousness she is having. So, instead of after Gerald dies him not being a character, they keep him around and turn what was happening on the inside of her brain and turning it outside.
Carla Gugino (Watchman, Sin City) plays Jessie Burlingame and I think she is was the perfect casting choice. She doesn’t have a lot to work with – being strapped to a bed the whole time – but what she does do with the character could be described as a tour de force. At time varying degrees of panic, rage, and resentful while trying to remain sane, and at the same time trying to figure out how to get out of the situation she has found herself in.
The story remains mostly the same, at least at the bare bones level; man and woman go to cabin for a sexual adventure, man handcuffs woman to bed, man dies, woman has to figure out how to get out. The biggest difference was having Gerald as one of the voices and a no B.S. version of herself being the other. Bruce Greenwood does a spectacular job playing Gerald. While Gerald is incredibly misogynistic and, quite frankly, an asshole, the best parts are when he is engaging in conversation with real Jessie and the spirit Jessie.
Another touch I really enjoyed was that there was no music in the majority of the film. The entire time Jessie is locked to the bed they do not play music, except for in the flashbacks. It definitely adds to the suspense.
Now I should say there are parts of the movie that I had to turn away because it was extremely gory. This, of course, is towards the end of the movie when Jessie figures out how to get out. I knew this was coming and I still had to shield my eyes from this.
This is definitely another win for King in his spectacular year. If I were to give this a rating I would say it gets an 8/10. As a King fan and a fan of suspense in general this is a must see.
Gerald’s Game is now streaming on Netflix.
If you want to contact me to discuss anything Stephen King or horror related you can find me on Twitter and Instagram @NilesHougabom. Be sure to check out The Game of Nerds for the rest of your nerdy needs as well.