DAVID BIANCULLI

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GERALD'S GAME
September 29, 2017  | By David Bianculli

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

 

TELEMOVIE PREMIERE: It’s been quite a year for Stephen King. Not only has a new version of his clown thriller It been a hit at the cinema, but on television, David E. Kelley has crafted a devilishly clever miniseries adaptation of King’s Mr. Mercedes, And now, today on Netflix, comes another deft character study from a King novel. This one is directed by Mike Flanagan and co-adapted by Jeff Howard, who previously worked together on Oculus and Ouija: Origin of Evil. Those horror films had some startling visual scares, but Gerald’s Game is much more cerebral and subtle. It features excellent performances from its two leads: Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood. I’ve been long-time fans of them both, and here they’re both full of surprises. They play a long-married couple who go on a remote lakefront retreat in hopes of spicing up their love life. But before long, their private encounter shifts from sexy to argumentative to downright horror – and all three elements involve, among other things, a pair of handcuffs. What sounds like a claustrophobic concept keeps opening up in surprising ways – flashbacks, fantasies, even an epilogue – and Gerald’s Game preserves, and even enhances, the most terrifying and relatable interior monologues from King’s original book.

 
 
 
 
 
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