US, 2017, Horror/Thriller
103 min.
Director: Mike Flanagan.
Cast; Carla Gugino (Jessie), Bruce Greenwood (Gerald)

Undoubtedly one of the least known Stephen King novels, and least praised by his admirers, is Gerald’s Game, originally published in 1992, the novel has been largely ignored by the masses, although it was already a bestseller for the majority. of those who have read it – at least those I know – liked it, I did not get the notoriety of It, Christine, Carrie, Salem’s Lot, The Shining, and many more. Perhaps that is why it was so surprising when Netflix announced that it would finance the film adaptation of that novel, at the beginning, many could think that they were betting on the name of King rather than on the story that they would adopt, well, the film has been released and Netflix was right in betting on it.


This year we have seen the resurgence of the adaptations of Stephen King, first came «The Fog» in the form of a television series made by Spike -and canceled this week-, then came the long-awaited adaptation of «The Dark Tower», well, With these two adaptations the omens were bad, very bad, both failed miserably and the viewers began to fear that we were going to have a year rich in quantity and poor in quality, however with the arrival of Mr. Mercedes – produced and broadcast in the United States. United by AT&T- things have drastically improved, an excellent adaptation that is turning episode by episode into one of the best adaptations ever made. Undoubtedly, Timon’s real blow came along with ESO –We won’t talk about it right here, you can find our opinion on the adaptation directed by Andrés Muschietti-, and if one was missing to break the tie, that was undoubtedly Gerald’s Game.

Is Gerald’s Game the best Stephen King adaptation ever made this year?

In the absence of seeing «1922» – to be released next month – I could say yes, as far as movies are concerned, yes. Perhaps – as it happened with the novel – it will not have the same success as That, nor will it cause so much speculation, debate, and reactions in the fans, but as an adaptation, it is better. It is extremely difficult to tell a story that occurs in one place, in this case, a bedroom, few filmmakers manage to do it efficiently and capture the viewer, come on, if we say that the story focuses on a woman handcuffed to a bed, alone (or almost) for an hour and forty minutes, it sounds even boring, and therein lies the credit first of Stephen King, and now of Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouija, Hush).


The film that has in its cast Carla Gugino (Watchmen) and Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek) and practically only them, focuses on the marriage of Jess and Gerald Burlingame, who decide to spend a weekend in a cabin to try to rekindle the flames in their marriage, however, things go awry almost immediately when Gerald tries to engage in a sexual game with his wife that includes handcuffing her to the bed and simulating rape, being tied to a bed, forced by a man and certain words pronounced by Gerald awaken in Jess a series of memories that prevent her from continuing with the game when she and Gerald argue, he has a heart attack and Jess is left alone in the cabin waiting for almost certain death, although perhaps she is not so alone As she believed –and would even want-, next to her will be the bitter memories of an afternoon of her childhood in which she saw the eclipse of the sun with her father, a hungry dog ​​that will devour parts of the corpse of his mother. arid but that very soon she could get tired and look for a little fresher meat, perhaps on the bed, and there will also be the presence of a stranger with the face of the moon, perhaps death itself.


The tension builds up scene by scene, as Jess begins to lose contact with reality, and her body weakens, while the memories that she has tried to suppress for all this time do their best to loosen the handcuffs that she has. She has put them on and that in a way she has worn on her wrists all her life. The claustrophobia of the situation only increases this feeling of despair, Jess is alone, handcuffed to a bed, with the corpse of her husband lying on the floor, but the ghost of her husband and the ghost of the inner Jess are also there. , the Jess who always knew the whole truth about herself and about Gerald, about what happened the afternoon of the eclipse and which she tried to ignore all her life, will soon begin to doubt if she knew the man she married if she was who she thought she was or if she let her self-deception take her to the comfort zone where she could navigate the tides within her.

The performances of both are wonderful, both in their duality, in their role as living Gerald and in the role of ghost or hallucination that tries to make Jess open her eyes to reality, she in her role as victim handcuffed to the bed and closer and closer to death, but also in her role of appearance, a strong woman who tries to provoke the catharsis that leads Jess Burlingame to accept what she has tried to bury all her life because otherwise, she will not be able to get out of the cabin, not alive.


The tension grows and grows, but it does so in a subtle way, well-executed, little by little the viewer discovers himself wringing the handkerchiefs, knowing that he wants to take control and change to something else but that at the same time he is not able to stop seeing what happens on the screen, even getting hypnotized by a scene – we won’t say which one, don’t worry – that causes him repulsion and wins to turn his eyes. It is cool because it terrifies the viewer without resorting to the easy scare, there are no big bursts of sound that take us by surprise, nor are there monsters behind the doors that come out suddenly, no, the monsters are in front of our eyes, all the time.

In short, yes, perhaps Gerald’s Game is the best adaptation of King so far this year –and why not, in several years– although we will also have to wait for what “1922” has to say when the film is released. October 20.

There are references to other King stories, however, they are more than anything small winks that are not involved in the story, perhaps that is the only sin that we can claim from Gerald’s Game, having left aside the other King character who had what to see -although in a very distant way- with this story.

Gerald’s game has been available on Netflix since September 29, 2017.


Written by Alex De Saro