Fantastic Fest 2017 Review: GERALD’S GAME

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

To quote actor Thomas Jane, who has starred in three Stephen King adaptations, “We all like Stephen King. It’s a good year for him.”  There’s no denying the popularity of King’s stories or how well they often translate to movies. In 2017, Gerald’s Game is the third of four King adaptation to reach audiences and the second one to play Fantastic Fest 2017.  With phenomenal performances by lead actors Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood, this latest psychological horror feature from director Mike Flanagan (Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil) is another successful cinematic conversion that will certainly leave its audiences in awe.

Jessie (Gugin0) and Gerald Burlingame (Greenwood), a married couple in need of a romantic getaway, drive up to their isolated lake house where they plan to rekindle their love life.  In order to spice up their love making, Gerald handcuffs Jessie to the bed, but then suffers a heart attack and falls to the floor dead.  Locked to the bed and faraway from the phone and the cuff key, Jessie tries to figure out ways to survive or escape.  She begin hallucinating and reflecting upon a repressed traumatic experience from her past.  Her struggle to survive also becomes a psychological battle to maintain her sanity amidst the demons tormenting her from within and without.

Written by Jeff Howard and Mike Flanagan, Gerald’s Game is an enthralling movie that has some truly exceptional writing, direction and performance from the cast.  This film could easily get adapted to an outstanding stage play, as the settings are minimal and the story relies mostly on Jessie, her hallucinations and her memories.  The movie’s ending does drag a bit, as an epilogue runs on a bit too long, but everything leading up to that moment is absolutely riveting, powerful, and of course, creepy.  Gerald’s Game is now available for viewing on Netflix and it is a film guaranteed to please fans of Stephen King and horror devotees.

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