Tuesday, October 3, 2017

[Review] Gerald's Game

Over the past few years, Mike Flanagan has been gaining a prolific reputation in directing really good, under-appreciated horror flicks like 2013's Oculus, and Hush and Ouija: Origin of Evil (which both released last year). His latest effort, Gerald's Game, is a Netflix exclusive and a Stephen King adaptation that might get caught in the shadow of this year's sensational IT, however, it's still a thrilling slice of provocative terror.

Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) are an unhappy couple who take a vacation to a secluded lake house, with plans to "spice things up." But when a role-playing sex act goes horribly wrong, Jessie is left handcuffed to a bed where she begins to see surreal visions.

It's a hell of a setup, and the contained story essentially all takes place in one room. And things get weird. Really weird. Not only is this a strenuous tale of survival with a major sense of shackled helplessness, but it also becomes a scathing dissection of a failed marriage, as well as a disturbing reflection on childhood trauma. Jessie's hallucinations yield some trippy yet lifelike conversations with people she knows very well, and of course, some ghoulish imagery creeps in. Carla Gugino gives a great central performance and carries most of the film as her character attempts to fend off death.

Gerald's Game is a well-crafted and thematically-layered genre piece that's worth a watch - that is - if you can make it through its woozy climax.

( 8/10 )

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