Thursday, November 2, 2017

Movie Review: "Gerald's Game (2017)

Director: Mike Flanagan
Year: 2017
Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

When her husband dies while trying to spice up their sex life, Jessie is left handcuffed to a bed with no apparent way to escape.

"Come on honey, let's have a little extra special fun in the bedroom tonight. Let's try out some bondage stuff." What could possibly go wrong?

"Gerald's Game" is directed by Mike Flanagan, who is known for making other horror films like "Hush" and "Ouija: Origin of Evil." Flanagan also wrote the screenplay with his regular writing partner Jeff Howard. The film is based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. This movie has an extremely simple premise. Long-time married couple Gerald and Jessie, played by Bruce Greenwood and Carla Gugino, are having marital troubles, so they head to their remote vacation house in the woods for a little steamy romance. In an effort to try and spice up their love life, Gerald decides he wants to play a sex game where he handcuffs Jessie to the bedposts so he can act out his secret rape fantasy. Though Jessie wants to try it out for the sake of her husband, she quickly discovers she's not into it. The couple argues, and in the middle of their fight, Gerald has a heart attack, leaving Jessie trapped and shackled to the bed with no way out. The rest of the film is about her trying to survive and figure a way out of the situation.

This is a film where the bulk of the material is carried by two actors. As Jessie is bound to the bedposts unable to escape, she and Gerald both appear to her as hallucinations, even after he has died. Each of these illusions represents a side of her internal debate: Gerald represents sorrow and the defeats she feels for being stuck in this situation, and Jessie symbolizes hope and her will to survive.

It takes a highly skilled director creating the right tone, tension, and intrigue to make a movie supremely engaging. Mike Flanagan has constantly proved himself worthy as a filmmaker, and in just a few films, he has already made a name for himself. What he does with "Gerald's Game" is impressive, especially considering this story one mostly takes place in one room with only a few characters. It's all about building and creating proper mood using a small space, and Flanagan certainly delivers with this anxiety-ridden, suspenseful thriller. He also has the task of making the audience relating to a character stuck in a very precarious situation. It uses our own fears to drive the drama and makes the audience question what we would do if we were trapped in Jessie's situation. Bruce Greenwood puts on a great performance, but it's Carla Gugino who steals the show. She is incredible in this movie and we were really impressed by her performance.

There are also some things that happen in this movie that is a bit skeevy. These moments mostly come from Jessie's flashbacks. There is also a moment towards the end of the film that is extremely gross. It will make you want to crawl out of your skin, so viewer beware, it gets disgusting. That being said, this isn't a movie that sells itself by using excessive amounts of blood and guts. It also doesn't have a ton of jump scares. It's just an effective and eerie horror thriller with a lot of tension, pain, and scares. We were surprised by how much we liked "Gerald's Game" and we think it is definitely worth checking out. It's free to watch on Netflix right now.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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