Jessie and Gerald (Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood) attempt to rejuvenate their love life by planning a weekend retreat in their isolated vacation home. Once there, Gerald suggests spicing things up in the bedroom with handcuffs. Jessie is uneasy about it and for good reason: these aren’t the novelty cuffs found in adult stores, but the real deal. When Jessie panics and demands Gerald release her, he has a heart attack and busts his head open on the floor.
Now Jessie is chained to a bed and has to survive until someone checks on her… which they probably won’t for several days. Unfortunately, Gerald left the front door open and a stray dog wanders in to feast on his body. Jessie knows the dog is going to want fresher meat sooner or later and by then she may not have the energy to kick it away. The Netflix Original isn’t quite as good as Hulu’s 11.22.63 (I don’t think anything that came out that year was as good), but it isn’t by any means bad. Just unusual.
What’s unusual about it is the way the filmmakers figured out how to film Stephen King’s supposedly “unfilmmable novel.” So much of the story takes place inside the heroine’s head that the filmmakers have to concoct imaginary characters for her to talk to, each representing conflicting aspects of her psyche. One of these characters is a fictional version of her dead husband and the other is a more confident version of herself. The film is quite literally “psychological horror.”
A friend of mine complained that when he watched the trailer, he felt like he had seen the whole movie. I watched the trailer after seeing the movie and I agree that it gives too much away, but it manages to save the most visceral and terrifying moments. There’s an entire subplot, which is quintessential King, that’s not even hinted at in the trailer I saw.
The gore in Gerald’s Game doesn’t paint the walls, but it’s there. There are at least two moments which are damn hard to look at, one of which doesn’t spill a drop of blood. The other moment, which is bloody, is perhaps the grossest thing I’ve seen all month… next to that phlegm scene in House IV, anyway.