First things first: I'm a realist.
2017 is the year of the King – Stephen King, that is. This is great news for me because as far back as I can remember, he’s been my absolute #1 favourite author. I won’t claim to be his biggest fan but I do own many of his books and movies and he’s one of the very few celebrities I follow on Twitter, so there’s that. He probably gave me the first nudge into the world of horror when I was, like, 10 years old.
Some of the critics are hailing Gerald’s Game as the best King adaptation of the year. I’m not sure I would go that far, especially in the last few minutes. For a vast majority of the movie, I was pretty well captivated. It’s a slow burn, that’s for sure, it doesn’t have a lot of “action” to it, but if you’ve read the book, you’d see that’s pretty much how it goes. Some people have called the premise absurd, but I don’t think it’s all that absurd. I think the scariest thing about it is how it could happen… I mean, if you’re into kinky handcuff games and your husband (or wife, I ain’t judgin’!) is pretty old, anyway. I was really really REALLY hoping they’d go a different route altogether with the ending. Cut out Joubert and just call it a day. The Moonlight Man/Space Cowboy was just… a figment of Jessie’s imagination. Or was he? Maybe he was a supernatural entity! I don’t care, but at least don’t go the Joubert route. Gerald’s Game is one of my favourite King novels… sans the last 70-ish pages. But I’m just not so sure it would have worked better that way anyway. I don’t know. I just don’t know. I get what Mr. King was trying to do… show how truly un-scary Joubert is in the light of day as opposed to when you’re sequestered in the nighttime fighting off hungry dogs and moonlight… I just don’t know if I love it.
Beyond that, though, disregarding those last few minutes, I thought it was done really well. It’s a difficult thing to film, since, of course, the vast majority of the film is just the character of Jessie alone… in solitude… no one but the “angels on her shoulders” to converse with. That’s a tough scene to film. But Carla Gugino plays her role extraordinarily well. Both Bruce Greenwood (Gerald) and Henry Thomas (Jessie’s father) make you pretty uncomfortable – granted, more Henry than Bruce; he was chilling.
I really liked it a lot, but I don’t know if I can say I loved it. It definitely had flaws, but not in casting, acting, or writing, that’s for sure. It was disturbing and parts were gruesome, but I also thought it was well done. I’d recommend it… to certain people.