Movie Review: Netflix nails Stephen King classic, 'Gerald's Game'

Said to be impossible to turn into a film, 'Gerald's Game' is edge-of-your-seat viewing

08 October 2017 - 00:00

It's the year of Stephen King adaptations: It (well on its way to becoming the highest-grossing horror film of all time) and The Dark Tower hit the big screen, while series The Mist and Mr. Mercedes were adapted for the small screen.
Netflix joined in the King mad rush with two adaptations: 1922 starring Thomas Jane and Gerald's Game, the latter released onto the streaming service last week (1922 premieres on October 20).
Based on the terrific 1992 novel, Gerald's Game was long said to be "unfilmable" - and understandably so. Jessie and her husband Gerald go to their secluded lake house for a romantic getaway, in an attempt to reignite a fire long lost between them.
He handcuffs her to the bedpost for a sex game, but Jessie loses her nerve quickly into it and demands Gerald uncuff her.
He ignores her pleas and then suffers a heart attack before hitting his head on the concrete floor and dying. This leaves Jessie trapped alone in a secluded house, handcuffed to a bed. Oh, and the couple left the front door open on their way into the house.
WATCH the trailer for Gerald's Game

While Jessie tries to figure out not only how to get out of the handcuffs (not cute, fluffy handcuffs but the ones used by police officers), she must also find a way to survive as the hours tick by and darkness falls.
Her biggest enemy is in her head: while she's handcuffed to the bed, she's kept company and taunted by a menacing Gerald, an unsympathetic version of herself, her father, a college friend and her psychiatrist. If dehydration or the ravenous stray dog chewing on Gerald's body won't kill her, the voices in her head certainly will.
It makes sense how this would be overwhelming to film. How do you show us Jessie in real time, as well as the different people she's seeing, the flashbacks to (and reveals of) her past and keep us on the edge of our seats at the same time? No wonder no one's attempted it before...

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