Many people that know me personally know that Stephen King is my favorite author. He should be, considering that I have read everything he has written, even non fiction. That being said, combined with my absolute love of the cinema, if a Stephen King adaptation hits the big screen, you know I am going to go over that piece with a fine tooth comb. This year has been the year for Stephen King adaptations, and I believe there is still one more to go on Netflix later this month with 1922. The Dark Tower was absolute shit, but IT was an absolute delight. GERALD’S GAME is more towards It than The Dark Tower, but there are a couple of things that truly slow down the film that turn it from being great, to just pretty good.
HOWEVER, that is not the director or screenwriters fault. It really is King’s, because this film is basically a page by page adaptation of the novel. And I do like the novel, although the one aspect keeping me from loving the novel, is the one aspect in here that keeps me from loving the Netflix movie. I am not not recommending it though. It is a really good watch and any avid Stephen King fan or horror fan in general I think will enjoy it. But the epilogue, while not killing the movie, certainly slows things down, and the epilogue deals with the one quick aspect earlier in the film that I didn’t particularly like, so I did not enjoy the epilogue. But director Mike Flanagan set out to make a adaptation of Gerald’s Game, and he went by the book, so I have to praise him for that.
I wish I could tell you the one aspect I didn’t like, but that gets into a little spoiler territory. So let me try and be vague while also explaining what I didn’t like about the novel or film. The epilogue deals with two characters in a court room basically. And one of these characters seems a little…how do I describe it….this character doesn’t seem to fit the film. Seems a little weird and odd. This aspect could’ve stayed in the film, but they could’ve made the character with the same kind of weirdness but his/her appearance more…normal? That’s all I’ll get into. It’s in the book as well, and the book could’ve kept the aspect without going a little too unbelievably weird looking. But I digress, this is King’s story and it is how he wanted to tell it.
If you haven’t even seen a preview for Gerald’s Game, I should probably give you a quick plot set up to see if you are even interested. A husband and wife go to this place to get away from it all and have really intense sexual role playing adventures. Gerald hand cuff his wife, arms up Jesus on the cross style to the bed frame, and he ends up having a heart attack and dying. With no one knowing that they are there she has to do anything to survive and get out of there, all while a man-eating dog, a possible stranger, and her own delusions try to get the better of her.
The great Carla Gugino stars as Gerald’s wife Jessie, and Bruce Greenwood co-stars as Gerald. It is basically a two person show with flashbacks into Jessie’s childhood that hints at why she is the way she is now. Gerald, even dead, doesn’t leave the picture as her delusions get the better of her and she imagines him still walking around and talking to her. It’s a great mind fuck of a picture, trying not to just overcome physical aspects but mental aspects as well to survive, and Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood are perfect casting here.
The is one WTF moment, very disturbing, and cringe worthy hard to read part of the novel, and the movie takes that part to a whole other level, which I loved (you’ll know it when you see it). Director Mike Flanagan is a great horror director in my eyes, having rescued Ouija by bringing a stellar sequel/prequel into the fold and I love his other stuff as well such as Oculus. Can’t wait to see what he brings us next.
Anyway, that’s basically all I can say without going into spoilers. This film is based on a novel by the mind of Stephen King so when you watch it you know what you are getting yourself into. And through no fault of the director or adaptation writer, it’s only a pretty good film, but not a great one. And it’s because of that one aspect I can’t reveal. It just seems so out of place in that movie and novel universe we were given during the film. I think you’ll know what I am talking about when you see it to. So if you’ve seen it and you are hungry for more King adaptations, you can’t go wrong watching this.