Gerald’s Game is one of the more hotly discussed novels in the Stephen King library, for a number of reasons. Widely considered King’s least likely to be adapted to film due to the fact that it’s pretty much a story about a woman shackled to a bed, it came as a tantalizing surprise last year when it was revealed that Netflix would be picking up the screen adaptation directed by horror master Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouija 2: Origins of Evil, Hush, Absentia).
Flanagan has always professed that Gerald’s Game was a passion project of his- one he’d been envisioning in his head for over twenty years. As of last week, those visions have officially come to life and let me tell you- Flanagan created one of the best King adaptations you will find.
Krystina: As someone who has never read the book, I had no idea what I was in for. The fact that we almost instantly see handcuffs go into Gerald’s bag during the title sequence had my spidey senses instantly tingling.
Justin: What I loved most about this film is that, having read the book, I thought I had a pretty vivid idea of what the scenes looked like and how they’d play out but Flanagan and crew really made this a fantastic film from start to finish.
Justin: The casting was perfect. Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood are about as spot-on as you can imagine the characters of Jessie and Gerald Burlingame being. The acting goes a long way in a film that almost exclusively features one set.
Krystina: Gugino did a great job of playing “the broken housewife”- struggling with her own demons while also trying to maintain her marriage.
Justin: Greenwood practically oozes the shit bag aura of Gerald. They were both simply fantastic in this film.
Krystina: I dug the ‘Cujo’ reference (laughs).
Justin: And the “all things serve the beam” comment!
Justin: There were a few moments in this film that made me want to get up and take a bleach shower. You know what scenes I’m talking about..
Krystina: The idea that you never truly know who you are really married to is something that kind of fucked with me.
Justin: The opening rape fantasy scene literally had me squirming in my seat. It was definitely cringe-worthy and made me feel for Jessie big time.
Krystina: Yeah, me too..
Justin: And the fucking dad! Gross…
Krystina: It’s sad that she ended up with pretty much the same man her entire life- a no good, dirty sleaze ball.
Justin: Of course, the movie is nicely bookended with the disturbing sex scene at the beginning and the horrifically graphic ending. (laughs)
Krystina: It’s shocking to see what people will do to stay alive.
Director Mike Flanagan and writer Jeff Howard took on the task of adapting one of King’s most difficult books and they excelled big time.
This twisted nightmare is beautifully shot, working on the audience’s nerves with close-ups at just the right time, playing with shadows and lingering just a few seconds longer than comfortably acceptable on the big finish.
Flanagan has officially joined the ranks of Frank Darabont, Mick Garris and Andy Muschietti as filmmakers who truly get what it takes to bring a King novel to life. It’s no small task but Flanagan made it happen in a big, big way.
Krystina: Gerald’s Game was a film I really enjoyed, albeit a little confusing. I’d give this one a thumbs up.
Justin: The book came to life perfectly and it’s always awesome to see a horror film rely on practical effects (shout out to The Space Cowboy!) and fantastic acting to get its point across. Big thumbs up from me.
Gerald’s Game is available on Netflix now.