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Review: "Gerald's Game"

by Sarah Morris - Copy Editor
Tue, Oct 24th 2017 11:00 am
Photo taken from return_of_the_living_dave's Instagram
Photo taken from return_of_the_living_dave's Instagram

At first glance, it seems as if Netflix’s adaptation of “Gerald’s Game” is just another 50 Shades of Grey-esque film about a couple kicking things up a notch in bed. If you know who Stephen King is, you can assume that it’s much more than that. The plot takes a turn 15 minutes into the movie, when Gerald Burlingame’s kinky “rape game” turns into a game of survival for his wife, Jessie, after he suddenly dies of a heart attack, leaving Jessie handcuffed to the bed frame in their remote cabin. 

Gerald’s body attracts a stray dog who Jessie fed at the beginning of the movie, only to be yelled at by her husband. The dog, to survive, begins eating Gerald. Though the dog feasting on Gerald isn’t all that graphic, the sound of him ripping into Gerald’s skin and muscles is utterly cringe-worthy. 

Carla Gugino, who portrayed Jessie and all the dehydration-induced hallucinations of her character, brought everything she could to this movie as an actress. We watch Jessie slowly deteriorate and go crazy as she’s forced to remember her dark past while watching her husband be eaten by an animal. 

We learn a lot about younger Jessie and her relationship with her perverted, pedophile father. After reading several Stephen King books and short stories, I noticed sexualizing little girls is a little too common of a theme, especially in “It”, “Apt Pupil” and “The Library Policeman”. Fans can defend him all they want, but I see no justification in writing pages worth of 10-year-olds having sex in graphic detail in “It”. 

The movie takes a sinister turn after introducing a third character who Jessie’s hallucination of Gerald tells her is Death himself, coming to claim her if she doesn’t escape. Death simply watches her at night, holding a box of human bones and jewelry, and disappears by morning. 

Besides Gerald’s death, I only have one other complaint: that scene, as many critics refer to it. One of the most gag-inducing moments in any movie I have ever seen is Jessie’s escape, which basically leaves half the skin on her right-hand dangling by a thread after she slits her wrist to use blood as a lubricant. The loss of blood and fluids causes her to pass out on top of her dead husband, whose face is half-eaten. 

After many, many skin grafts and mental healing, Jessie becomes a therapist for those who survived sexual abuse, telling her story to connect with her clients. The best part of the whole movie is the ending, when Jessie finds out Death is actually a serial killer who suffers from acromegaly and digs up bodies, eating their faces and performing acts of necrophilia. She goes to his trial, walks up to him and says, “You’re so much smaller than I remember,” before walking away like the badass she is. 

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