Release year: 2017
Director: Mike Flanagan
Screenwriter: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard, Stephen King (based on the novel by)
Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Chiara Aurelia, Carel Struycken, Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel, Adalyn Jones
Trying to spice up their marriage Jessie (Gugino) and Gerald (Greenwood) goes to their remote lake house to spend some alone time and engage in some light bondage. But tragic circumstances leave Jessie alone and handcuffed to the bed with no one to hear her scream.
King’s novel Gerald’s Game, on which this is based, is a novel so relying on psychological horror from the internal perspective of one person that one would have deemed it impossible to bring to screen. But Flanagan, who has amazed with his knack for horror in recent years, has cracked the code and created a tense and gruesome horror thriller. The cast and set is limited, leaving high pressure on especially Gugino (Watchmen, 2009) and Greenwood (Star Trek, 2009) to deliver and Gugino does such a good job she is begging casting directors to notice her and give her more work. Her Jessie is vulnerable and timid while the version of her appearing as Jessie’s mind is starting to play tricks on her is strong and fierce. As the time passes the contrast between the beauty of the imagined Jessie and the weary look on real Jessie grows stronger, constantly reminding the viewer how time is running out. As a genius stroke Struycken (The Addans Family, 1991) has been cast as Moonlight Man and it is definitely hard to imagine anyone making this dark character more intimidating just by presence. A brilliant psychological horror and an even more brilliant adaptation of one of King’s more difficult novels to bring to film. Please bring more collaboration between those two!
The book (“Midnight Mass”) that Jessie throws at the dog in this movie was written by Kate Siegel‘s character from Hush (2016) which was also directed by Mike Flanagan. Kate Siegel, who is married to Mike Flanagan in real life, also stars in the movie as Jessie’s mother.