Gerald’s Game

When her husband’s sex game goes wrong, Jessie — handcuffed to a bed in a remote lake house — faces warped visions, dark secrets and a dire choice.

Year: 2017
Certificate: G
Director: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Bruce GreenwoodCarla GuginoHenry ThomasCarel StruyckenMike FlanaganChiara Aurelia

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Guest Reviewer: Laura Baldwin (from LW Freelance Writing) [twitter] [blog]

There appears to be a recent proclivity for screen written adaptations of Stephen King novels. That is not to dismiss the fact that the author’s written work has always been popular for screen adaptation. Whilst King’s written work has been adapted in one way or another for screen almost every year since the 1970’s, there are five films and two series in 2017 alone. This summer saw the release of “The Dark Tower” in cinemas. The movie “IT” is currently showing in cinemas which is a reworking of the 1990 screen adaptation based on the novel of the same name, published in 1986. Then we have the Netflix Original film and series adaptations of King’s novel “Gerald’s Game” and “The Mist“. Next month sees the release of another in “1922” based on the King novella of the same name. The invention of Netflix and other streaming platforms, as well as traditional mediums of television and cinema, means we now not only have access to a back catalogue of works and originals but we are thirsty for the revising of previous adaptations. It seems we as an audience are not put off by the failure of some producers to convey the brilliance of King on the screen. The failure of some only seems to make viewers voracious for a remake.

The latest addition; “Gerald’s Game” is currently available as a Netflix Original film. Produced by Mike Flanagan for Intrepid Pictures and starring Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood and Carel Struycken, the film is the first attempted adaptation of the story. Gerald (Greenwood) is an ageing, career driven older gentleman who is married to Jessie. The film begins with the two travelling in their S-Type red Jaguar to their ‘cabin in the woods’ retreat. It is obvious immediately that the couple are distanced from one another and the marriage is laboured. It’s evident upon arrival that Gerald, having pre-prepared the cabin, is there to spice up the marriage in the bedroom department. Jessie (Gugino) seems aware but reluctant as she arranges herself positioned on the bed in her new negligée. Gerald slips into role-play character revealing two sets of authentic handcuffs, not the novelty kind as they are not strong enough, he declares. As Jessie’s anxiety builds alongside Gerald’s lust she stops the act before it really begins and mid-argument Gerald appears to have a heart attack and dies.

Jessie then becomes the only character throughout most of the film. Through visions and memories, she finds a way to endure this nightmare as she lays handcuffed to the bed posts. Increasingly dehydrated and pained she slips in and out of consciousness. When conscious she is delusional; however, it is the characters from her psyche that help her find her inner strength one way or another. Flitting between the Jessie that is fettered by her past as much as the handcuffs and the stronger, more rational version of the character as an apparition, Carla Gugino is brilliant. Portraying one character in different scenarios from the emotional distress of facing her past, the calm self-help advisor and not to mention the distraught victim of the story, ready to give up; Gugino gives a contrast performance showcasing her diverse acting abilities.

A tale that addresses how we must address our past if we are to move forward, “Gerald’s Game”‘s flashback scenarios are more difficult to watch than any of the horror that takes place within that bedroom. Jessie fights, literally, for her life in gory scenes that are not for the faint hearted. Just when we believe the manifestations of the characters in the room are all fragments of Jessie’s delusions we learn that not all was as it seemed in that room. The movie ends with a twist that viewers that have not read the book, are unlikely to foresee. Staying true to the original Stephen King novel, the film ends with a round-up of what we didn’t know happened in that room and afterwards, narrated by the character of Jessie.

This film is everything you’d expect from a Stephen King novel and more wrapped up in a relatively short film of just 1hr 46 mins.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About Laura

Copywriter at LW Freelance Writing. I'm also a mother and wife, owner of two dogs and practicing Christian. Passionate about TV, film & cinema, spoken word, poetry, politics, autism and, feminism. Poet at

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5 thoughts on “Gerald’s Game

  1. Anyone else thought straight away that she should have tried to stand up on the bed. Place the feet under her bum as much as possible and try to stand, then take the handcuffs off of the bed posts one at a time. Or if she couldn’t stretch that much to take the handcuffs off, try to place your feet and yourself behind the bed and move the bed away from the wall, then stand by the wall behind the bed and try to break it or move it to reach the phone. I watched the whole film thinking how stupid she is… Sorry, but not sorry.

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