Gerald’s Game is a movie by one of my all time favorite directors, Mike Flanagan. Was released in 2017 on Netflix and has been a movie that flew under my radar. Today was the day I was able to watch this beautiful film! Mike Flanagan has created many great things proceeding this movie that are very main stream, such as Haunting of Hill House, Doctor Sleep and this year’s Haunting of Bly Manor. I think Gerald’s Game is a really great movie! All throughout it kept me entertained and better yet, it that had me jumping out of my seat which is amazing. The movie is about a married couple who are trying to spice up their relationship by going on a weekend getaway. Our main two characters are played by Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood who play the married couple. When bad luck strikes Jessie played by Carla has to survive through the weekend alone. No spoilers in this review!
Now let’s talk about Mike Flanagan and why he really is the star of this movie! From the opening shot we get this nicely framed overhead shot of the characters packing their bags for their trip. We see the camera begin to slowly zoom in on the bag with all the items inside until we see something new get added, which is shocking to the viewer. Throughout this film they use the camera to show the user multiple items that will eventually play a part in the story that is about to unfold before us. Each and every single shot of this movie is perfectly executed and you can tell that they care about each frame in this movie. Cinematographer Mike Fimognari worked on this film with Flanagan and has done several of his older and newer projects as well. These Mikes working together create an absolute powerhouse of film! I cannot give enough credit to how good this movie looks. There are some great tracking shots of them driving, quick cut shots that are creative, unique camera placement and great panning motions. Editing is just as amazing with the work being done Mike Flanagan himself. This really explains why the camera work is done in a specific fashion and why we get cuts to random objects within the scene. With the camera cutting to these objects we as the viewer are seeing all the puzzle pieces that will be in play later on in this beautiful picture of a film. There are moments where I did cringe though. Not because the scene was bad but because the sound mixing in this movie was too good. There are some parts of this movie where the audio of what’s going on is too much in the best way possible. It allowed me to be super immersed in the movie and actually felt like I was there.The pacing and story telling in general in this movie felt just right. A little bit of a slow burn at the start but things quickly picks up!
Now let’s talk about the overall story! Going into the film for the first time, I already knew what was gonna happen. The story itself is very linear and isn’t the most original. That being said, they were able to do this story with a very unique perspective and made it an original movie with an over used concept. I really have to applaud the team on making a movie feel so refreshing and new with a story that could feel overused in today’s movies. Jessie, the main character, goes through many emotions and events in this movie. You see it through her perspective and what’s going on in her mind in a very interesting way. I absolutely loved it. This was the best way to tell this story in my opinion. I rarely see a concept like this in movies nowadays. Doesn’t mean it hasn’t been done before because it has. Carla absolutely kills it in this role as well as her counter part Bruce who also delivers a very powerful performance. They were able to make these characters come alive and made us, the viewers, actually care for them and their safety. There are also some other elements in this movie that felt like a psychological thriller but I will keep that a secret for those who haven’t watched it yet. That’s the beauty of this movie. There are some great surprises and twists within this movie. There is also a great use of flashbacks that allowed the characters to be more fleshed out. Symbolism in this movie is also super well done and there are some great deep moments weaved into the story.
My final thoughts. Although this movie is not super original and made itself it’s own identity. There is a lot of strong writing which is delivered by great actors. The storytelling in this movie is super well done and the message gets across without being over bearing. This movie made me jump, hide and scream at some parts. All this year, I don’t think I had that reaction to any other movie I watched. Mike Flanagan has made a great track record for himself. I can’t believe this movie has been out since 2017 and I haven’t seen it until now. Highly recommend this movie to anyone who is into horror movies. This is also not for the faint of heart. There is one scene in particular that I knew about going into the movie that I was scared to watch. That scene lived up to its reputation. Just be cautious! Would highly recommend this movie though