Gerald's Game review - spoilers

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Neil W

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2008
1,203
2,585
Isle of Wight UK
#1
Jessie and Gerald go to their lakehouse for a little end-of-season R&R which, hopefully, might help out their ailing marriage. Gerald interprets this as offering the opportunity to try out a little experimental bondage, and handcuffs Jessie to the bedhead. This is not to Jessie's liking but before Gerald can uncuff her, he suffers a fatal heart attack. Jessie is cuffed to the bed in a deserted cabin. Deserted, that is, apart from the dog who is eating her husband's corpse. Oh, and the serial killer on the loose.

The book, like Misery, takes part largely within the protagonist's head. This presents some problems in terms of adaptation: internal monologues are inherently uncinematic. But Gerald - or, rather, Jessie's personification of him - is given a solid role to play here, because Jessie is not just trapped by her cuffs. We learn that her past, including Gerald, but going back to her childhood also, have trapped her just as effectively as the ill-judged bondage game.

And kudos to this film for including the eclipse sequence including the very detailed reference to events in King's linked novel Dolores Claiborne. This sequence is atmospheric, evocative, and necessary: the manipulative emotional blackmail of Jessie's father was, for me, the most horrifying element of a story which otherwise traded on Jessie's claustrophobic powerlessness.

There is a little gore and some extremely offensive language, all of which is entirely appropriately. And for a story which is essentially a two-hander, but Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood are first rate.

This is one of the better King adaptations.
 
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