Gerald's Game (2017)

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Gerald's Game (2017) poster

Date Created: 06/11/2017
Date Modified: 06/11/2017
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Runtime: 103 min -
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While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame.
Gerald's Game is a 2017 American psychological horror film directed and edited by Mike Flanagan and written by Jeff Howard and Flanagan. It is based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. The film stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood.

It was released on September 29, 2017, by Netflix.

Plot[edit]

Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) and Jessie Burlingame (Carla Gugino) arrive at an isolated lake house in Fairhope, Alabama for a romantic weekend away, in an attempt to save their strained marriage and rekindle their sex life. Gerald suggests that he handcuff Jessie and she agrees. While he takes a Viagra tablet, Jessie calls out to a stray dog with some steak and, when re-entering the house, leaves the front door ajar.

Jessie changes into a new night dress, removes the tag, and places it on a shelf above the bed. Gerald takes a second Viagra and leaves his glass of water on the same shelf. He restrains Jessie with one handcuff on each wrist locked to the bedposts and begins to get rough with her, telling her to scream for help. She plays along at first but soon becomes uncomfortable with his violent fantasy, so she tells him to stop and uncuff her, to which he replies, "What if I won't?" Moments later after a heated argument, Gerald suffers a heart attack and dies. His body falls off the bed, leaving Jessie locked in the handcuffs. Panicked, she begins to call for help but knows nobody will hear her.

Hours later as the sun is starting to set, Jessie is becoming weak and tired. The dog she fed earlier walks into the room and sniffs around Gerald's body. Jessie tries to scare it away but it bites a chunk out of Gerald's arm and eats it by the door in front of her. A distraught Jessie begins to cry but seconds later, Gerald stands up, in pain from the bite in his arm. Jessie then notices his dead body is still on the floor and realizes the living Gerald is a manifestation of her fatigued mind. He taunts Jessie with her memories from their strained marriage, in which she was afraid to question the darkness in him. Jessie tries again and succeeds miraculously in freeing herself from the cuffs. She gloats to Gerald, then turns around and tells her real self that it is easy to escape; the real Jessie, still trapped on the bed, is now hallucinating a version of herself too. Both speak to her and trigger Jessie to remember the glass of water above the bed. She is able to reach the glass but cannot bring it to her mouth. The hallucinations remind Jessie of the tag she put on the shelf, which she rolls into a straw to drink from the glass.

Jessie falls asleep, wakes up in the dark, and notices a tall figure in the room. It is a deformed man who walks toward her and reveals a box of various bones and trinkets he is carrying. She closes her eyes and says "You're not real," then Gerald appears and says the figure is Death waiting to take her. Gerald begins to call Jessie "Mouse", which unsettles her. She has a memory of when she was 12 years old, at a lake house with her family to watch a total solar eclipse. Jessie sat alone outside with her father, Tom, who called her "Mouse." As she sat on his lap to watch the eclipse, he sexually abused her.

The following morning, Jessie is in pain from her circulation being cut off. The hallucinated Gerald teases Jessie about the man she saw, who he calls "the man made of moonlight", and points out a bloody footprint on the bedroom floor. At the urging of the hallucination of herself, Jessie remembers what happened after the eclipse. Tom visited her in her room, claiming he was "ashamed." He manipulated Jessie into agreeing never to tell anyone.

Jessie has an epiphany from a memory of cutting her hand squeezing a glass when her mother asked her about the eclipse. Jessie smashes the glass and cuts her wrist to peel back the skin, freeing her right hand from the handcuff. She unlocks her other hand. In the bathroom, she drinks water and bandages herself, but passes out from blood loss before she can leave.

When she wakes, the "man made of moonlight" is standing at the end of the hall. Jessie gives him her wedding ring for his trinket box. She makes it outside to her car and drives away, but sees the man again in the back seat. She crashes the car, but people nearby find her.

Six months later, Jessie is alive. Her right hand needed three skin grafts and, although she still struggles to write, she pens a letter to her 12-year-old self. She pretended to have amnesia over the whole ordeal and Gerald's insurance paid out over his death. Jessie has also started a foundation for others who have fallen victim to sexual abuse. At night the "man made of moonlight" still appears before her as she falls asleep. Her wedding ring was never found in the house but she learned, after seeing an article in the newspaper, that the "man made of moonlight" is called Raymond Andrew Joubert. He is a real person who suffers from acromegaly, causing his disfiguration, and a wanted serial killer who has been digging up crypts and stealing from the dead. He would then occasionally eat their faces, but only did this to men, which explains why he did not harm Jessie and also why Gerald's face was disfigured.

Raymond is caught by the police. Jessie arrives at court the day of his sentencing and calls for his attention. Upon seeing Jessie, he recites what she said to him that night in the hallway, "You're not real" and "You're only made of moonlight,” and mimics the position she was restrained in. Jessie walks up to him, seeing visions of both Gerald and Tom, and says "You're so much smaller than I remember.” She then walks out of the courtroom and into the street with the sunlight gleaming down on her.

Cast[edit]

Carla Gugino as Jessie Burlingame, Gerald's wife

Chiara Aurelia as Young Jessie Mahout

Bruce Greenwood as Gerald Burlingame, Jessie's husband
Carel Struycken as Moonlight Man/Raymond Andrew Joubert
Henry Thomas as Tom Mahout, Jessie's father
Kate Siegel as Sally Mahout, Jessie's mother

Production[edit]

On May 19, 2014, Deadline.com reported that Mike Flanagan had been set to direct a film adaptation of Stephen King's suspense thriller novel Gerald's Game, scripted by Jeff Howard. Trevor Macy would produce the film through Intrepid Pictures.[1] In an interview with Rue Morgue in September 2016, Mike Flanagan reported that a film adaptation would premiere on Netflix. He did not state when the film would premiere or whether Stephen King would be involved.[2] Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood were cast in the film to play Jessie and Gerald Burlingame, along with Henry Thomas, Carel Struycken, Kate Siegel, and Chiara Aurelia.[3]

Principal photography on the film began on October 17, 2016, in Mobile, Alabama.[3][4]

Release[edit]

The film was released on September 29, 2017, by Netflix