Gerald’s Game is the successful result of a Stephen King novel once thought unfilmable. Although published in 1992, it took until 2017 for Netflix to figure out this intense story of survival. Director Mike Flanagan already made the similar horror movie Hush as something of a warm up. Both movies take place in one secluded location where a woman fights to overcome a desperate situation. Gerald’s Game has a particularly terrifying concept that only Stephen King could come up with.
Jessie is the wife of wealthy older man Gerald Burlingame. To rekindle their failing marriage, Gerald takes Jessie to an isolated lake house where he plans a kinky “game” that results in her being handcuffed to a bed. When he goes too far, Gerald suffers a fatal heart attack that leaves her with no way of escape. It was unfilmable since the entire movie now hinges on one performance. Fortunately Carla Gugino delivers what I think is the best performance of her career. Like all horrifying survival stories, the situation goes from bad to worse.
Since the door was left open, a hungry stray dog wanders in and ends up doing something disgusting. When dehydration sinks in, she has to find a way to get the water left on the shelf behind her. Bruce Greenwood is just as effective as Gerald when Jessie begins to hallucinate him taunting her. Triggering a disturbing memory with her father during a solar eclipse that she has to come to terms with. Even that isn’t the worst of it when another dark figure shows up. Much like 127 Hours, the circumstances of Jessie’s escape are extremely difficult to watch. Gerald’s Game is gut-wrenching horror that hits close to home.