There is an old trick, or so the movies tell us, to put someone through torture.

It’s not enough to simply hurt them, you have to show them exactly what you’re going to do to them first.

You have to hint at the danger that is to come.

A knife cuts in an instant.

Waiting for that fateful moment when it finally slices you is, arguably, even worse.

Mike Flanagan understands this premise all too well.

The opening scenes of his new film Gerald’s Game, based on the novel by Stephen King, lay out all the film’s implements with elegant cruelty.

The packed suitcase, lingerie inside.

The other packed suitcase, don’t forget the handcuffs.

The long winding drive to a lonely little cabin.

A mangy, hungry dog. A door left open.

A little bottle of viagra.

This perfect storm of bad timing and lousy circumstance finds Jessie (Carla Gugino) handcuffed to a bed by her husband, Gerald (Bruce Greenwood).

Things were going so well, then they were going so badly, and then they go so badly that Gerald has a heart attack and dies, with Jessie still handcuffed to the bed.

Alone…Barely able to move.

No one around.
No neighbours.
No phone.
No water.

Only Jessie, the corpse of her husband, and oh look!

That hungry dog.

What an exquisitely Hitchcockian nightmare scenario we have in Gerald’s Game. But of course, these kinds of gimmicks have been disappointing before.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in showmanship and forget that however weird the situation is, a movie is still a story, and the story needs to be told, not just shown off.

Too many filmmakers yell “Look, ma! Watch me dive!” and then bellyflop it.

However, that is not the motto of this story it is actually about a little girl being hurt by her father and told to be silent about his bad behaviour… we all live in a life that sometimes we are not aware of what really occurs and how we end up being who we are… perhaps we should be a little kinder to ourselves and not allow others to bother us.. but, sometimes that isnt the case now is it.. we do the best we can do with what we know.. right…




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