Gerald’s Game: Netflix Adapts Stephen King Novel into Unnerving Psychological Horror Flick
Stephen King has been having one hell of a year, with four of his works being adapted into movies, starting with The Dark Tower, and IT hitting cinemas and 1922 and Gerald’s Game hitting Netflix.
Gerald’s Game follows a couple trying to rekindle the romantic spark in their love life, with the eponymous husband, Gerald (Greenwood) taking his wife Jessie (Gugino) to their private estate for a couple of days, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, things don’t go quite as planned; after cuffing his wife to the bed to spice up their foreplay, he ends up having a heart attack, falling to his death and leaving her tied up and exposed too all types of unexpected horrors.
It wouldn’t be a Stephen King movie if it didn’t lay-on the horror in thick coats, which Gerald’s Game does visually very well; a solar eclipse turns the sky and almost everything in the scene blood red, a dark figure looms as a constant reminder of death and a dog, reminiscent of Cujo, reminding Jessie that she’s going to be dog food unless she escapes.
At the same time, however, this movie is best described as a psychological horror-thriller, relying heavily on its characters and their psyche to build the story, especially when it comes to Jessie, as she starts to get dehydrated and suffer hallucinations with an angel and devil over the shoulder feel. And with only five actors – which include the dog – in the entire movie, it takes its time to allow itself to become a character study, so the acting had to be top notch – which it is. Most of it falls on Carla Gugino, who delivers a fantastic range in her performance, touching on horror, grief and desperation.
The film also delivers in terms of directing and cinematography, which shape its immersive world, first and foremost by asking the question: what would you do if you were in the same situation? How would you survive? The accompanying soundtrack gives the ambiance a spooky and an unsettling feeling, too, forming one of the scariest and unnerving Stephen King adaptations to date.