Inducing night terrors and plenty of suspense, director and writer Mike Flanagan (Ouija: Origin of Evil) and screenplay writer Jeff Howard (Oculus) adapted Stephen King’s 1992 novel “Gerald’s Game,” into a Netflix original that’s a brilliant twist that forces you to look deep inside your soul. Like Freud would say “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
At first, it seems, as if King lives out his darkest sexual desires that involve handcuffs and rape fantasies in an idyllic house in the middle of nowhere. But there’s more to see here than the literally naked eye can see. In a way, it reminds of “The secret window” starring Johnny Depp (Blow), where he plays a schizophrenic writer and most of the happening, happens in his mind.
“Gerald’s Game” is set in the mind of “Jessie Burlingame,” starring Carla Gugino (San Andreas) who questions her marriage to her husband, “Gerald,” portrayed by Bruce Greenwood (I, Robot). After a sex game gone horribly wrong and Jessie has no way to escape, her thirsty mind tries to unfold the mysteries surrounding her.
There’s not much of a backstory prior the first scene, but the viewer is aware of the fact that the relationship between Jessie and Gerald is on its last straw because Jessie refuses Gerald’s gentle touches.
The reason behind their weekend trip into the middle of nowhere is a retreat to boost their rocky marriage with some added spice in their sex life, which goes from “happy-go-lucky” to “hell no.”
The film has everything to do with the differences between the two. Jessie, a beautiful voluptuous woman with luscious dark locks and sultry rose-pink lips is married to Gerald, who’s a lot older than her, with greyish-white hair, sun-kissed, matured skin and an appetite for viagra pills; a couple that has worlds between them. It’s obvious that Jessie has a “Daddy’s complex” and it comes to the surface when Gerald wants to be called “Daddy” while he dominates her. It ends up all going horribly wrong, in the best way possible.
“Gerald’s Game” is a deep psychological thriller that tries to unravel the connection we have to ourselves and others. It’s an experience of constant-adrenaline pumping hysteria. Although most of the scenes are shot in the bedroom, where Jessie is trying to escape, she tries even more so to escape her own mind. Because what do you do when you have time and nowhere to go? You think. You can feel the pain of leg cramps, the thirst in your throat, you feel with Jessie. The viewer becomes Jessie.
Ultimately and above all else, “Gerald’s Game” is intense. If you can’t see graphic movies, you might want close your eyes or squeeze a stress ball during this flick. No other thriller in the Netflix original lineup can live up to this one. “Gerald’s Game” is as twisted as it gets.
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