A Highly Symbolic Psychological Thriller
Stephen King’s psychological thriller, Gerald’s Game, is the next in the long list of his books to be adapted to the big screen. Unlike some of the other attempts recently to imitate King’s style, Gerald’s Game is an example of how to tell a simple story well. The plot is straight forward and graced with enough flair to make it a visual treat; the methodically artistic way this story plays out helps make it such an enthralling watch from start to finish
There’s little in the way of forced exposition too as the film opens with a married couple travelling to a couple’s retreat to try and save their marriage. Full of interesting symbology, Gerald’s Game wastes no time getting to the meat of its plot line and gleefully plays with its dread inducing story once it gets there. Trying to spice up their marriage, Jessie (Carla Gugino) is handcuffed to the bed by her husband Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) and what starts as a kinky game to spice up their marriage quickly turns into a nightmare when Gerald suffers from a heart attack and presumably drops dead. Alone and chained to the bed, a terror filled ordeal transpires as Jessie begins hallucinating and reliving painful memories in her past whilst struggling to break free of her shackles.
Although the plot line itself is relatively simple, the way this Netflix Original manages to nail the terror and stress this situation would inevitably cause is similar in some ways to 127 hours. Unlike Boyle’s film, the symbology and overall thought provocative way Gerald’s Game plays out ultimately makes this a very different venture despite the similar predicaments in both films. There’s some slick composition too and the lighting is generally very good throughout, particularly the scenes shot at twilight which really nails the uneasy aesthetic Gerald’s Game clearly looks to achieve.
Whilst the ending might not be for everyone, its certainly a satisfying conclusion to this tale that manages to wrap up all the loose ends with very few questions left over. The consistently good camera work and cinematography really help give Gerald’s Game an artistic polish lacking in other horror titles and its great to see this high standard achieved throughout the film’s run time.
Gerald’s Game plays out as more of a thriller than an outright horror but there are still a few cringe worthy and unnerving scenes that help to flesh the story out more. Ultimately its the confident way this story is told that really contributes toward this film’s success. It’s fair to say Gerald’s Game is one of the best horrors released this year and is well worth a watch, making it a worthy adaptation of Stephen King’s excellent book.
Verdict - 8/10