Gerald’s Game on Netflix

October 25, 2017

I watched the 2017 Netflix adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game recently. Let me start by saying that the book isn’t one of my favorites. I could never get past the first 100 pages for some reason. After watching this, I might give it another go after the launch of Errant God’s on Halloween. Because of that, I can’t do my normal here-is-the-movie-and-how-it-compares-to-the-original-story thing.

The movie is directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouija, Hush, etc. ), who along with Jeff Howard wrote the screenplay, and stars Carla Gugino (Night at the Museum, Watchmen, Sin City. etc.) as Jesse, the indubitable Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek [2009], Star Trek: Into Darkness, Super8, etc.) as Gerald, and Carel Struycken (Men in Black, Star Trek TNG, The Witches of Eastwick, etc.) as the Moonlight Man. Gugino does an outstanding job–playing Jesse, and the mental figment of Jesse–and being handcuffed to a bed for virtually the entire movie must have been uncomfortable, to say the least. Greenwood is incredible, as the live Gerald, the dead Gerald, and the figment Gerald. It is what actors do for a living–playing different roles–but the difference between the live Gerald and the figment Gerald is almost palpable, and I give Mr. Greenwood credit for pulling that off. Struycken is just plain creepy as the Moonlight Man, and I mean that as a compliment. His unique proportions lend him credibility, sure, but his expressions–the glee as he shows Jesse his bag of trophies, the ecstasy when she confronts him–really sell the character in my opinion.

The things I found unpalatable in the book (which starts with Jesse already chained to the bed, and Gerald already dead) were deftly avoided in the film by adding a scene in which Jesse and Gerald arrive at the lake house and start to get busy. Then Gerald says the wrong thing, Jesse freaks out, the inevitable happens to Gerald, and voila–the horror begins. The cinematic magic that blends the Moonlight Man with shadows was also dextrous and magical, and it will fill familiar to anyone who’s ever seen figures in the dark that are made by shadows, or the coat on the door, etc.

Overall, I found this movie both extremely well-done and enthralling. I recommend it without reservation.

Check out the trailer: