The Stephen King adaptation movie is one of the best yet
When audiences go to a horror movie they often times expect the screen to be filled with monsters such as a chainsaw wielding ghoul or a killer clown that feeds on fear. However, monsters exist in real life, just not how people expect.
These monsters can be a person’s parent or even their spouse. This is one of many interesting topics that is explored in the new Netflix original film “Gerald’s Game.”
“Gerald’s Game” is yet again another film this year adapted from a Stephen King novel. The 1992 book of the same name was very controversial for its subject matter and was thought to not be filmable. Nevertheless, the streaming platform Netflix, known for giving directors and writers creative freedom, was not afraid to adapt the novel. In doing so they may have created one of the top five best Stephen King movies.
The film is directed by horror genre filmmaker Mike Flanagen (director of “Oculus” and “Ouija: Origin of Fear”) who explores the real life horrors of domestic abuse in his most recent movie.
The story centers around Jessie Burlingame (Carla Guingo) who is married to Gerald Burlingame (Bruce Greenwood). The middle-aged couple decide to spend the weekend at their lake home in an attempt to spice up their love life, hoping that it will fix their broken marriage.
After arriving at their cabin Gerald brings Jessie to the bedroom and handcuffs Jessie to the bedpost in an effort to rekindle the spark in their sex life. Jessie goes along with it until she is no longer comfortable with the situation and tells him to un-cuff her. Before doing so Gerald drops dead from a heart attack.
A vicious, hungry, and wild dog enters the cabin through an open door. Jessie is unable to release herself from the bedpost while she is in her isolated cabin with no one to hear her screams. Jessie must quickly find a way to escape before she gets killed by the dog or dies from dehydration.
The film may sound like a grotesque horror movie, but at its core it is a character piece. The majority of the story consists of flashbacks and hallucinations of her dead husband speaking to her. Through this the viewer begins to learn who Jessie is and starts to strongly feel and understand for her.
Mike Flanagen proves that he is truly a master filmmaker. The cinematography and editing is phenomenal. Flanagen blends the present narrative and the flashbacks perfectly making them appear as if Jessie is literally watching the flash backs like it’s a stage play.
The lighting in the film is also outstanding. Flanagen uses red undertones of lighting within the film, which adds beauty to such a dark, ugly, but often true story.
Carla Guingo does a great job as Jessie Burlingame. It is obvious that she put a lot of hard work into this movie, as she is on screen the entire running time of the film. Guingo brings a multi-layered performance making the audience feel as if she is not even acting.
The only criticism I have for this movie is the ending. Story-wise I like the ending, but it feels very out of place with the rest of the movie. It over explains the themes and symbolism present throughout the movie, which really took me out of the story.
Overall, “Gerald’s Game” is very dark and focuses on many different forms of domestic abuse. It may be hard for some to watch, but it’s message is something everyone should hear.