Now Netflix is chipping in on the effort to make us all forget that filmed adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower with this adaptation of King’s Gerald’s Game, a powerhouse acting job for both Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood.
They play Jessie and Gerald, a married couple who have hit tough times. They attempt to rekindle their relationship on a holiday excursion which includes her getting handcuffed to the bed. Things go bad—like, really bad—and Jessie winds up in a truly precarious situation that involves starving, dehydrating and hallucinating.
The original King novel, of course, finds a way for Gerald to stick around for the whole movie, even after a fatal heart attack, while flashbacks show us additional traumas involving Jessie’s dad (Henry Thomas).
The movie is, appropriately, hard to watch at times, as a hungry dog comes by for a visit, and Jessie searches for ways to get her hands out of those cuffs. (Hint: Things get bloody.)
This is a career-best performance from Gugino, who carries most of the movie on her back. Greenwood is allowed to get deranged in the role, and he does just that. Visits from a ghostly giant give the movie a supernatural twist, and it gets legitimately scary.
This wasn’t one of King’s best novels (he basically ripped himself off with elements of Dolores Claiborne and Misery), but Gerald’s Game does wind up being one of the better filmed King adaptations.
Gerald’s Game is currently streaming on Netflix.