I am unsettled.
I did not know this was a Stephen King adaptation until after I finished the movie. I also did not know that this was directed by Mike Flanagan, who was responsible for some great horror/thriller films the last few years including Hush, Oculus and the surprisingly entertaining sequel Ouija: Origin of Evil.
Perhaps if I knew any of this, I would have had higher expectations for Gerald’s Game on Netflix. However, I did not know, so when I heard Chris Stuckmann say he had a review coming on this film (during his review on Flatliners), I thought I would check it out as well.
And I am unsettled.
Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) and Jesse (Carla Gugino) are a married couple who head to an isolated house for some role play in an attempt to spice up their marriage. After having both hands handcuffed to the best posts, Jesse watches in horror as Gerald has a heart attack, falls off the bed, strikes his head and dies.
Worse yet, there is a hungry stray dog that has found his way into the house and has begun to pull the meat off of the corpse to eat.
At this point, it becomes a survival story for Jesse, who begins to hallucinate conversations with Gerald and with herself. She also starts to remember something horrible that happened to her as a young girl.
Did I mention that I was unsettled?
Carla Gugino was amazing in this role. She brought all kinds of tension and suspense into the situation and you really feel for her. You believe that she is in a panic to try to find a way to free herself while she still could and you can see how she is slowly losing it.
And I really hated that dog.
Then, thanks to those flashbacks, the film became, dare I say it, creepier. I think I felt my skin crawl several times. Henry Thomas (yes, Elliott from ET) is just as horrendous as any character in any film this year. Thomas does a magnificent job. I hated him more than the dog.
As the film continued, it only got tougher to watch. I could feel the stress with each worse moment that would happen to Jesse.
Then, when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, a weird character shows up and brings that level of tension even higher. You don’t know if he is just a figment of her dehydrated imagination or something even more sinister.
There are a lot of emotions that the viewer of this film goes through and they are well earned. There are several moments when I have to turn my head away because it was just too brutal to watch. I cared for this character and I wanted things to work out for her.
This is a great Stephen King film that really works you over. This is a tough watch, but I truly respected the journey. This is a character study and there is no jump scares. The scares are well earned.
And be ready to be unsettled.