Gerald’s Game – USA, 2017 – reviews

‘Some games you play. Some you survive.’

Gerald’s Game is a 2017 American horror film directed by Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House; Ouija:Origin of Evil; Hush; Before I Wake; Oculus) from a screenplay co-written with Jeff Howard. The movie is an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. It stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood.

The film is an Intrepid Pictures (The Bye Bye Man; The Raven) production and debuted on Netflix on September 29, 2017.

Plot:

Once again, Jessie Burlingame (Carla Gugino) has been talked into submitting to her husband, Gerald’s, kinky sex games—something that she’s frankly had enough of, and they never held much charm for her to begin with. So much for a “romantic getaway” at their secluded summer home.

After Jessie is handcuffed to the bedposts—and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) crosses a line with his wife—the day ends with deadly consequences. Now Jessie is utterly trapped in an isolated lakeside house that has become her prison—and comes face-to-face with her deepest, darkest fears and memories. Her only company is that of the various voices filling her mind… as well as the shadows of nightfall that may conceal an imagined or very real threat right there with her…

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“While Flanagan has already proven himself to be one of the new masters of horror, Gerald’s Game shows that he’s more than a one-trick pony. He’s taken a nearly unadaptable story and turned it into an emotional, thought-provoking, intense, and even more so important powerhouse of thriller that will prove to be as timeless as Misery.” Brad Miska, Bloody Disgusting

“There’s also one moment in particular […] that was so cringe-inducing that I actually had to look away for a moment, because I felt like I was going to be sick. And considering Gerald’s Game isn’t a particularly gory or gruesome story, it becomes this iconic moment that stands out as one of the most nerve-wracking moments we’ve seen in modern horror, and that’s pretty damn cool.” Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

“I found Gerald’s Game to be a compelling horror/thriller – intense, suspenseful, teeth-grittingly graphic and exceptionally emotionally nuanced – complete with hallucinations, vicious dogs, and a protagonist who engages us in her personal hell and traumatic battle for survival…” Ren Zelen, Horror Talk

“Every scene, every shot, every inclusion is carefully considered before being crafted with purposeful precision, as is required by a premise confined chiefly to two actors in a single room. Such intimacy permits few errors, challenging confident artists to achieve peak creativity. Everyone meets that mark too, right down through each performer in the cast.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

Gerald’s Game is a gorgeous film. Tight, too, despite its one-hour-45-minute runtime. The flashbacks into Jessie’s past could easily feel like padding—or exploitative, given the material within—but instead they form the nucleus of not only her trauma but her strength.” Tom Philip, GQ

Gerald’s Game is one of those rare examples where everything works out – the current Mr. Mercedes TV series adaptation is another. Yes, the story very much comes across, but no, not everything is as it was in the original Gerald’s Game novel. The gore is very much all there. So especially a scene towards the end is not for anyone with a weak stomach.”  Karina Adelgaard, Heaven of Horror

“Overall, I absolutely loved Gerald’s Game. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the film and then retreating in quickly in repulsion at other times. Much like King’s other works, this film will be the puppeteer and you are its puppet. The film is art at its finest, and from the cinematography to the acting, it is beautifully done.” Pop Horror

“Clumsy conclusion aside, Gerald’s Game is a masterfully crafted thriller, boasting two terrific performances and at least one sequence that is so harrowing it’s a cinch to become an instant classic. (You’ll definitely know it when you see it.) It handles horror of every shape and form skillfully.” Eric Walkuski, Arrow in the Head

“It’s a barnstorming showcase for Gugino, so often underused, who tackles a difficult, physically restricted role with gusto. There’s a stirring, surprisingly impactful sexual abuse narrative, the film offering more humanity than the majority of horror films spewed out at the moment. Genre fans will also be satisfied with some third-act violence that proves almost unbearable to watch.” Benjamin Lee, The Guardian

“Emotionally devastating, strangely cathartic, and equally terrifying, Flanagan proves that no story is unfilmable with the right creative mind at the helm. Gugino, Greenwood, and Aurelia lend immeasurable talent to an intimate story, giving it a larger than life quality. There couldn’t have possibly been a better adaptation for this tough novel than this.” Meagan Navarro, Modern Horrors

“It’s an incredibly well-made film, and Flanagan gets the best performances he’s directed yet from Gugino and Greenwood—it’s great to see them get such juicy roles.” Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

Gerald’s Game makes a misstep in its final minutes, but the remainder of the film succeeds at building suspense, increasing our pulses, and making viewers care about one woman’s struggle… that in turn reveals itself to be the story of many. It’s unsettling, heartfelt, disturbing, and wise, and it’s easily one of the best of the numerous King adaptations.” Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

Gerald’s Game is a film that is well worth watching […] Mike Flanagan has shown that he is once again a horror director that you can trust to deliver. Gerald’s Game may not be one of the best Stephen King films, but this film definitely brings out its strength on the screen to deliver the horror where it counts.” Paul Metcalf, Nerdly

Choice dialogue:

Jessie: “Wipe that silly grin off your face. Uncuff me! And stop calling yourself ‘f*ckin’ daddy!'”

Main cast:

geralds-game-stephen-king-novel

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