Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game has long been touted to be completely “unfilmable.” Netflix apparently didn’t agree with this so-called logic, though, and they tapped director Mike Flanagan to bring King’s dark, claustrophobic story to life. Flanagan, perhaps best known for directing Hush and Oculus, has a reputation for being able to do the impossible. After all, Hush has a deaf main character, yet Flanagan wove a tightly terrifying thriller together that doesn’t rely on excessive sound effects or music to scare its audience.
The new Gerald’s Game trailer has been released by Netflix and it proves that the streaming giant once again has the recipe for success. The story revolves around a woman, Jessie, and her husband, Gerald, who get away for a weekend to try and put the spice back into their marriage. Gerald thinks handcuffs are the best way to do just that, but Jessie becomes uncomfortable once their sex act begins and in the heat of the moment, Gerald has a heart attack and falls to the floor. Left alone far from civilization, and unable to move, Jessie has to keep herself alive and figure out her escape while the hallucinatory effects of food and water deprivation kick in.
Already, it seems likely Gerald’s Game will earn its spot among the best Stephen King adaptations instead of being merely decent or, worse, terrible. Here’s everything to be gleaned from the first trailer for Gerald’s Game releasing on Netflix on September 29, 2017.
Perhaps Going Somewhere Remote For Rough Sex Isn’t The Best Way To Fix A Relationship
The central premise of the book and movie is that Gerald and Jessie decide to engage in a little bondage. In the book, Jessie’s eventual nightmare almost comes across as some twisted sort of victim shaming. In the Gerald’s Game trailer, though, she and Gerald seem genuinely interested in improving their relationship through spicing up their sex life.
Of course, Jessie figures out pretty quickly she’s not that into it and Gerald seems seconds away from agreeing when everything goes to hell. The film falls in line with at least one horror film trope, however, sex in a remote cabin always leads to spooky consequences.
A Particularly Tense Dog Attack
Ignoring the much easier prey lying dead on the ground, a hungry stray dog leaps at Jessie trapped on the bed. In an uncomfortably tense squirm-inducing part of the trailer, the dog bites her leg. The sound of the bite is clear, loud, and evokes a visceral reaction that makes it much easier to truly imagine what Jessie’s going through. This showcases Flanagan’s filming style. He always seeks to bring viewers into the experience in a way that they’ll never forget.
Everyone’s Kinkiest Nightmare
Jessie’s reality becomes horrifyingly desperate as she realizes her handcuffed state mean she’s trapped. But she quickly learns that the situation is even worse than she feared. Unlike the silk scarves the couple started with in the book, the metal of the handcuffs is completely uncompromising. In one particularly dreadful scene, Jessie is clever enough to get a glass of water down from a shelf, only to discover that there’s no way to get the life giving liquid into her mouth.
It’s A Psychological Thriller First And Foremost
One of the most effective aspects of the book is the psychological damage and grief that Jessie faces as a result of her predicament. Instead of shying away from this, director Mike Flanagan brings the emotional thrills to the forefront with use of elaborate fantasy and memory sequences. The past holds uncomfortable truths that Jessie must deal with.
Meanwhile, Jessie keeps envisioning Gerald himself taunting her in a manner that’s consistent with how poorly he treats her in the beginning of the book.
There’s A Lot More Clothing Than In The Book
One of the things that gave Gerald’s Game the book its “unfilmable” label is the amount of nudity the book contained. The titular character is completely naked before he dies, and his wife, Jessie, wears very little.
“…she had been wearing nothing but a pair of nylon panties so wispy you could have read The New York Times classified section through them…” `
It makes sense that Netflix steered clear of accurately adapting this detail. After all, despite what ’80s slasher films would have us believe, one is rather distracted from the effective horror of a film when forced to stare at someone’s nearly naked body for two hours. Despite this, the filmmakers still managed to spice things up with actress Carla Gugino’s tasteful but sexy outfit.
Gerald Comes Off As Less Of A Jerk Than He Is In The Book
Yes, Jessie asks Gerald to let her go in the movie just as she does in the book, and he doesn’t comply. However, in the book they get into a nasty screaming match and it’s clear that Gerald has little to no interest in hearing her request. In fact, Jessie thinks that “now he meant to rape her, actually rape her,” before the heart attack happens. In the movie trailer, Gerald sits up and begins talking nostalgically about their past together. It doesn’t seem like much of a leap to assume that he was going to let her go before he suddenly became unable to do so.
The Death Of Her Husband Is More Tragic In The Movie
It was heartbreaking in many ways when Gerald had a heart attack in the book, but looks to be far more so in the movie version. In the movie trailer his death is more tragic considering he and his wife weren’t screaming at one another with the threat of rape. This subtle difference means Jessie will likely grieve more on top of the stress of struggling to survive.
Those Cuffs Don’t Look Bedroom Approved
Jessie makes multiple attempts at slipping her hands out of the constraints in the trailer. Which gets her nowhere fast but does cause plenty of physical damage to her wrists. The cuffs appear to be too tight for Jessie to get free even if she were to purposefully break her own thumbs. A useful lesson to all that using sex toy safety approved handcuffs is an easy way to avoid this scenario. But then we’d have no movie, so…
Which Is Worse, The Physical Restraints Or The Insanity Setting In?
Jesse is clearly a survivor who isn’t willing to simply give up. But what makes Gerald’s Game so intriguing isn’t her struggle to be free of her physical restraints, but instead to listen and reason with the growing voices in her thirst-addled head. The Netflix tagline for this film is, “Breaking free will require more than keeping her sanity.” Clearly the horror of the movie will involve things both real and imagined.
The Keys To Jessie’s Survival Might Lie In The Past
Jessie has dealt with monsters of the human variety before. A voice reminds her in the trailer that her childhood holds some dark moments. Can she find answers in her troubled past that will help free her from her current predicament? If not, she’s going to die of thirst, starvation, or dog bites. The strong urge to survive is something everyone can relate to, and it makes her plight feel even more horrific.
The Movie Adds Some Modern Elements Missing In The Book
Gerald’s Game the novel was first published in 1992. At that time, not many had cellphones, nor was the Internet the easiest way to connect with others. Now it’s easy to feel like someone is always within reach. Instead of relying on the played out horror movie trope of a cellphone not getting service, the director chose to place an iPhone just out of Jessie’s reach. The only odd thing about this modern inclusion is that Jessie is apparently unable to ask Siri for assistance. Perhaps she disabled the iPhone’s lock screen feature or maybe her Siri is merely buggy. Either way, it ratchets up the tension and makes modern technology absolutely useless.