FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Gerald’s Game (2017)


I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Gerald’s Game

Intrepid Pictures / Netflix

In an attempt to save their marriage, Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) and Jessie Burlingame (Carla Gugino) arrive at an isolated lake house for a weekend away that includes spicing up their sex life; this involves Gerald handcuffing his wife to the bed. However, it isn’t long until Jessie discovers that role playing does not interest her.

Following an argument in which the couple concede their marriage is over, Gerald dies of a heart attack. But it is before he can un-cuff Jessie from the bed…

Based on the novel by Stephen King and brought to life by Mike Flanagan, who also wrote, directed, and edited the far superior Hush (2016), Gerald’s Game is an overall disappointment. The premise alone promises plenty, and the addition of its source material’s author even more so, but the film resorts to too many genre clichés to be rewarding.

Gerald’s Game is a combination of good ideas, but none of them are realised to their full potential, and a few of them are completely unnecessary; Moonlight Man feels like he belongs in another film altogether and the final reel fails to make the emotional impact it strives for. With the exception of Jessie, the characters aren’t all that interesting, and when we get to know more of her backstory, it exists as nothing more than a tried, tested, and overused narrative trope. Here, the men are immoral and the women are victims—they are as two-dimensional as that.

The film is, however, slightly redeemed with some strong points. Gugino and Greenwood do wonders with the constraints placed upon them (no pun intended) and the make-up effects are exceptional—they need to be for that infamous scene.

Not for the squeamish, but undemanding horror fans will get something out of it. 2 / 5

Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Carel Struycken, Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel, Chiara Aurelia.

Director: Mike Flanagan | Producer: Trevor Macy | Writers: Jeff Howard, Mike Flanagan (Based on Gerald’s Game by Stephen King) | Music: The Newton Brothers | Cinematographer: Michael Fimognari | Editor: Mike Flanagan

Available: Netflix

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!


I’ve been a Wayne Stellini and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

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