Stephen King Watch : Gerald’s Game (2017)

Plot : While on a remote romantic get away Jesse’s husband dies … while she is still handcuffed to their bed (with out a key)

This is an adaption of King’s 1992 novel of the same name. The first thing that I found surprising is how this novel is actually a novel and not a short story. This is because the majority of the film is set in one location and delves into the psyche of our protagonist in such a way that you expect this to be added to flesh out the screen play. However (and I mean this as praise) the fact its a novel shows the immense amount of care and attention King spent on Jesse. I really look froward to reading this.

 

Director : Mike Flangan (Oculus, Before I Wake) .

Starring :Carla Gugino (Watchmen) 

The film sees a couple attempt spice up their relationship with a weekend away . Gerald proceeds to handcuff his lover’s hands to each side of the bed . He dies of a heart attack while on top of her and the story really begins here.

We see Jesse’s thought process as she deals with the initial shock and slowly progressing into problem solving. At first the audience is stuck with the same dread as she is. We are left wondering how we would respond and a difference to this compared with a lot of other horror films is that she deals with the situation as logically as you would expect.

While this is definitely based on Jesse we see her suffer hallucinations and flash backs . She is visited by the spirit of her now decease husband who acts to guide and taunt her . This is clearly in her mind but it is the directing which allows the audience to see that this is her own subconscious version of her husband .

The suspense and maintained when the Jesse is visited by a German Shephard she fed early on in the film. The vulnerability of the protagonist is something which is constantly reaffirmed both long term and short term by the director . The dog acts as the short term issue and the fear dying of thirst or hunger while restraint is the other major threat. The fear of being ripped apart by this dog is something which keeps the auidence on the edge of their seats.

The film harks back into Jesse’s childhood and a traumatic incident which haunts her. This is another major theme from King’s work; trauma as a child shaping the adult self.

 

As Jesse remains  bound her visits from her visions and the dog become more frequent and intense. The climatic sequence pays off the slower build up.

 

Overall this film use of suspense is supreb. The cinematography works for what the film is which is a low budget Netflix film. The characterisation of Jesse is superb and you really feel as she acts as naturally as someone would in this situation.

Verdict : It is a unique film which plays to it’s strengths which was acting, suspense and characterisation.

A must see for any King fan.

Two Thumbs Up!

 

 

 

 

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