Movie Review: 'Gerald's Game' (2017)

Updated on October 5, 2017
Source

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, Gerald's Game is about a woman, Jessie, who is spending the weekend with her older husband. During bondage play, her husband keels over from a fatal heart attack. The planets are aligned against Jessie. Not only is she handcuffed to the bed, but her husband Gerald's retreat is miles away from the nearest neighbor. Strapped to the bed, Jessie is faced with hallucinations of herself and her late husband. She also comes to terms with previous sexual abuse from her father.

For a film with such a simple premise, the story manages to remain properly dynamic. Jessie has the proper desperation, trying to figure out any way to escape her predicament. The movie never lingers to the point where these moments wear out their welcome. Director Mike Flanagan (of Oculus fame) knows when to play the right note and when to move on.

While the Netflix original is based on the Stephen King novel, Gerald's Game makes the most out of a simple premise. Unlike most Stephen King works, the supernatural is absent from Gerald's Game. Instead, this film relies more on psychological scares - fear of being trapped in an isolated room, fear of possibly dying, fear of possible intruders. The film captures how difficult it is for Jessie to even have a drink of water when both arms are handcuffed to a bedpost.

Source

While the film's horrors are more cerebral, there are certainly elements that FEEL supernatural such as the motif of the solar eclipse and a character that haunts Jessie. The film also deals with touchy subjects of sexual abuse at a young age without feeling exploitative. Although it comes close to preachy, Gerald's Game fortunately never crosses that threshold.

Also even with more psychological scares, there is some gore. Discussing what happens will enter spoiler territory. Rather than spread out the violence, most of it happens a few horrific bursts. One was so gruesome, I paused the film to delay it.

Source

Gerald's Game does work as an effective thriller, but it is a little dialogue-heavy. Considering the story is essentially a chamber piece (I think the flashbacks disqualify this from being a true chamber piece), this works at establishing characters. While we see little of Gerald before his first act death, his appearance in hallucination reveals much about his and Jessie's relationship. Also, music is used quite sparingly throughout the movie. While these factors work in the film's favor, I bring them up part because sparse music and dialogue-heavy films aren't everyone's bag.

Carla Gugino turns in a fine performance as Jessie, truly selling the peril her character faces. Gugino technically plays dual roles as she also plays her own subconscious who remains calm and cool no matter how freaked out Jessie becomes.

There are a few faults in the film. There are some minor pacing issues. Toward the end, there is an exposition-heavy narration. Director Mike Flanagan did the right thing by at least showing the events play out WITH the narration, but it goes on a hair too long. Also, the final act is a mixed bag. While it does feel a little out of place, it also functions as an effectively chilling reveal. So all's well that ends well.

Gerald's Game is currently playing on Netflix. One need not be a Stephen King fan to enjoy this tale of psychological terror and living with the long-lasting effects of abuse.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)