Stuff I Watch in October: Gerald’s Game (2017)

Gerald's Game

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Predator (1987)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Crow (1994)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Scream (1996)
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Scream 2 (1997)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
What Lies Beneath (2000)
Scream 3 (2000)
28 Days Later (2002)
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
The Ring (2002)
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Identity (2003)
AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Alien vs Predator: Requiem (2007)
Halloween (2007)
Grindhouse (2007)
Halloween II (2009)
Predators (2010)
Absentia (2011)
Prometheus (2012)
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Escape From Tomorrow (2013)
Oculus (2013)
Before I Wake (2016)
Hush (2016)
Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
Alien: Covenant (2017)
Happy Death Day (2017)
Get Out (2017)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: Gerald’s Game (2017)

Gerald's Game

DIRECTOR: Mike “Ironman” Flanagan, for cryin’ outloud.

WHAT IS IT?: Once again, director Mike Flanagan returns, adapting author Stephen King’s 1992 novel that many people thought was unfilmable due to graphic nature of the film and the contained setting.

THE PLOT: Jessie and Gerald have made their way to a secluded house for a private getaway. While Jessie seems to want to take her time and enjoy where they are, Gerald can’t seem to wait to move straight to having sex with his wife. Hopped up on Viagra, Gerald shows his wife a new addition to their bedroom games: handcuffs, which he uses to chain her wrists to both bedposts.

Gerald attempts to roleplay a “consensual/non-consensual” game (a “rape fantasy” as it were) — which Jessie objects to, distressing Gerald who expresses frustration and sadness with their declining sex life.

The stress from her rejection causes Gerald to drop dead of a heart attack…leaving Jessie chained to the bed with no hope of escape, leaving her vulnerable to everything from starvation to dehydration to an insanely hungry stray dog who will eat ANYTHING…and a phantom she’s not sure is real or imagined due to her declining mental state.

Gerald's Game

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: Critics ate this up, giving it high marks for Carla Gugino’s performance (she carries this film) and saying that the film was Mike Flanagan’s finest film to date purely because of his prowess at telling a good story and giving a damn about his characters.

WHAT DID I THINK?: The reason why Gerald’s Game succeeds is largely due to the fact that Flanagan knows character dramas and has a genuine gift for choosing the right actors for them. Actress Carla Gugino is outright stunning, pulling off a great performance as the increasingly desperate Jessie. You believe her strife, you feel her pain, and you want her to succeed — especially when the film gives you her tragic backstory.

Not to be outdone is the great Bruce Greenwood who plays Gerald. He has excellent chemistry with Gugino and is a veteran actor, with the range for this role, having played everyone from a villain (TV’s Knott’s Landing, Double Jeopardy) to the hero (TV’s Nowhere Man, 2009’s Star Trek reboot).

The only downside is the resolution to the story which is built entirely out of a ton of exposition which feels the need to explain a ton of the set-up and wrap everything up in a neat, happy bow.

Still, Gerald’s Game is an outstanding film and one that sticks with you after it’s over.


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