Gerald Burlingame and his wife Jessie attempt to rekindle the flames of their marriage with a retreat to their remote lake house. But when a dangerous sex game accidentally kills Gerald and leaves Jessie handcuffed to the bed, the latter is forced to overcome panic and hallucinations if she wants to escape.
Gerald’s Game will be out on Netflix just in time for Halloween and is based on Stephen King’s 1992 suspense novel. The Burlingame’s are a married couple who is desperately trying to reignite their relationship with a weekend getaway at a remote lake house. Soon after they arrive they begin to get right at it. Gerald convinces Jessie to let them play around in a little BDSM, which she hesitantly agrees to. by handcuffing her to the bed. Matters quickly go from being sexy, to downright terrifying. Gerald begins to get a bit rough in his foreplay, and completely against Jessie’s consent. After a little roughhousing they begin to argue, which triggers Gerald to have a heart attack that eventually kills him. And that’s when the fun begins.
A horrified Jessie suddenly realizes that she is left handcuffed to their bed. She also realizes that they are not close to any neighbors, and completely out of reach for her phone. Things eventually grow darker as she falls into some very disturbing childhood flashbacks, and when the darkness comes, a new and terrifying ghoul emerges from the shadows. As the stark reality of her deadly situation sinks in, Jessie attempts to escape into her mind, creating doppelgangers of herself and her late husband who in turn taunt and instruct her. There are many effective moments in the movie, but none are as chilling as a woman’s own inner dialogue with the representations of some of her most self-destructive tendencies.
The director, Mike Flanagan pulls off the narrative challenge by never forgetting that, for all its psychology, Gerald’s Game is still a visceral horror movie. So he wisely captures all of the outside forces… tormenting Jesse, a frightening and hungry stray dog, a stranger in the house, her confinement and failed escape attempts, all in gory detail. The terror of these elements comes from bluntness, rather than surrealism. The dog, for instance, simply strolls in and out of the bedroom, clicking its claws and making wet noises as it nonchalantly chows down on the dead Gerald’s arm. There’s no CGI, no glowing eyes or overlong fangs.
Don’t worry, I’m not rudely throwing around a bunch of spoilers, this is only the starting setup for the actual meat and potatoes of the movie, Gerald’s Game is largely constructed around Jessie’s attempts to escape from her shackles while she slowly degrades both physically and mentally. Get on Netflix and watch this one just as soon as you can, well worth it!
Title: Gerald’s Game
Release Date: September 29, 2017
Runtime: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama
Studio: Intrepid Pictures
Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Chiara Aurelia
MPAA Rated: R
Directors: Don Mancini
Reviewed by: Kathryn Price
Our Rating: 4.4 /5
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