I will admit that I was very skeptical going into this movie for two reasons. First, because of the story itself. And second, Stephen King adaptions can be hit or miss….and I’ve seen a lot of misses. I recently read Gerald’s Game as I have been reading through King’s works in order & the story is quite intense. As a lot of the story is hallucinations, thoughts & memories inside the main character’s head. But I was pleasantly surprised by this adaptation.
The movie begins with Jess & her husband Gerald heading to their vacation home for a weekend away. From the beginning we learn their marriage is kind of on the rocks & this weekend retreat is meant to hopefully “spice” up their marriage & bring them closer together. Of course, Gerald’s idea of spice things up & Jess’s are totally different.
Pretty soon into the film, Jess is left handcuffed to their bed. These handcuffs aren’t the toy kind with the easy release, but straight up police issued shackles with keys. Which are conveniently left on the bathroom counter across the room. Then Gerald has a heart attack & dies in the middle of all this.
After Gerald dies, the film revolves around Jessie & her break from reality while being handcuffed, traumatized, dehydrated & starved for a couple days. I was nervous as to how this would be done & in all honestly, how close it would follow the novel as it is pretty graphic. It is a fairly close adaption of the novel & the King universe easter egg connections are included.
Jessie is played by Carla Gugino and does an amazing job being inside of her own head. We get a glimpse of how she views Gerald & how she thinks Gerald views her. Gerald is played by Bruce Greenwood, and is a great supporting role considering he is dead within the first 15 minutes. We also see how Jessie view herself as well as she tries desperately to get out of the situation she is in.
I will not sugar coat anything, this movie will make you very, very uncomfortable. It is very graphic, not only with what Jessie endures in present day, but how her mind retreats to relive previous trauma. And whether or not what she is seeing is real or hallucinations. This is is one of the better Stephen King adaptions I have seen. Flanagan stays true to the novel, & embraces the graphic nature of the novel.
You do not have to be a King fan to watch this film. I find this one of King’s more terrifying storied as the horror is not supernatural, but a totally normal situation anyone could find themselves in. It may not be handcuffs, but anything that causes you to be restrained & stuck without help nearby is terrifying enough to me. You can’t reach the phone. Calling for help is no longer an option. Your phone is dead. Or out of reach. These are things that are truly terrifying.