Gerald's Game (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gerald's Game
Film poster
Directed byMike Flanagan
Written by
  • Mike Flanagan
  • Jeff Howard
Based onGerald's Game
by Stephen King
Produced byTrevor Macy
CinematographyMichael Fimognari
Edited byMike Flanagan
Music byThe Newton Brothers
Distributed byNetflix
Release dates
  • September 19, 2017 (2017-09-19) (BFI Southbank)
  • September 29, 2017 (2017-09-29) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States

Gerald's Game is a 2017 American psychological horror thriller film directed and edited by Mike Flanagan, and screenplay written by Flanagan with Jeff Howard. It is based on Stephen King's 1992 novel of the same title, long thought to be unfilmable.[1] The film stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood as a married couple who arrive at an isolated house for a holiday. When the husband dies of a sudden heart attack, his wife, left handcuffed to the bed without the key and with little hope of rescue, must find a way to survive, all while battling her inner demons.

Gerald's Game had its world premiere at BFI Southbank on September 19, 2017, and was released on September 29, 2017, by Netflix. It received very positive reviews from critics, who lauded Gugino's performance; Flanagan's direction, and the film's themes and their treatment, were also singled out.


Jessie and Gerald Burlingame arrive at an isolated lake house in Fairhope, Alabama for a romantic getaway. While Gerald takes Viagra, Jessie feeds raw beef to a stray dog outside. Inside, she changes into a new slip and Gerald restrains her with a set of handcuffs locked to the bedposts. He begins to enact a stranger rape fantasy; she half-heartedly plays along but soon becomes uncomfortable, telling him to stop and uncuff her. After a heated argument in which he accuses her of not even trying to rekindle their relationship, Gerald dies of a heart attack, falling onto the floor and leaving Jessie trapped in the handcuffs.

A few hours pass. The dog enters through the open door of the house. Jessie tries to scare it away, but it bites a chunk out of Gerald's arm and eats it. Gerald stands up and begins talking; when Jessie notices his body remains on the floor, she realizes she is hallucinating. He taunts her about the truths of their strained marriage and his erectile dysfunction. He then informs her that she is beginning to suffer from dehydration and fatigue. Jessie also hallucinates a more self-assured version of herself, who explains things about her and Gerald that she never had the courage to acknowledge. The two hallucinations trigger her to remember the glass of water Gerald had left on the shelf above the bed, which she is able to reach; when she can't drink it, she rolls the shopping tag she'd torn from her slip into a drinking straw to reach the water.

Jessie falls asleep, wakes up in the dark, and sees a deformed obscured figure who reveals a bag of bones and trinkets. She refuses to believe the figure is real but Gerald says the figure is Death waiting to take her. Gerald begins to call Jessie "Mouse", which triggers a memory of her father Tom, who affectionately referred to her as "Mouse." When she was 12, he had her sit on his lap while he masturbated to her during a solar eclipse. Gerald and Jessie number 2 taunt that she never recovered from the assault, and that she married a man just like her father. Gerald calls the deformed man "the man made of moonlight", and points out a bloody footprint on the floor, making Jessie realize the figure may have been real.

Jessie remembers how her mother suspected her father but did nothing. She smashes the water glass, cuts her wrist, and peels back the skin, allowing her bloody hand to slip through the cuff. She is then able to reach the key and unlock her other hand. She bandages her wrist but passes out from blood loss and fatigue. When she awakes, the "man made of moonlight" is at the end of the hall. Delirious, she removes her wedding ring and gives it to him for his trinket bag before leaving. She makes it to her car and drives away but hallucinates the deformed figure again and crashes into a tree. People from a nearby house emerge to help.

Six months later, Jessie is writing a letter to her 12-year-old self. She describes how she had pretended to have amnesia over the ordeal of being trapped, avoiding painful questions. She used some of Gerald's life insurance to start a foundation for victims of sexual abuse. But each night the "man made of moonlight" still appears before her as she falls asleep. She learned from the news about a serial killer with acromegaly who digs up crypts, stealing bones and jewels, and has sex with and eats the faces of male corpses; this explains why he didn't harm Jessie in the house and why Gerald's face was disfigured.

Jessie arrives at court as the moonlight man is being sentenced. He quotes what she said before leaving the house, indicating that he was in fact there at the time. Seeing Gerald and her father in him, she tells him, "You're so much smaller than I remember", and leaves triumphantly.




On May 19, 2014, Deadline Hollywood 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 produced the film through Intrepid Pictures.[2]

In an interview with Rue Morgue in September 2016, Flanagan stated that the film adaptation would be released by Netflix.[3]


Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood were cast to play Jessie and Gerald Burlingame, along with Henry Thomas, Carel Struycken, Kate Siegel, and Chiara Aurelia.[4]


Principal photography on the film began on October 17, 2016, in Mobile, Alabama.[4][5]


The film was released on September 29, 2017, by Netflix. It has not been announced for a physical DVD or Bluray release.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Gerald's Game received positive reviews. On review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 79 reviews, with an average rating of 7.60/10. The website's critics consensus states, "Carla Gugino carries Gerald's Game's small-scale suspense with a career-defining performance."[7] At Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, the film has a score of 77 out of 100 based on 12 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[8] Stephen King called the film "hypnotic, horrifying and terrific" after watching the rough cut.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How director Mike Flanagan made Stephen King's 'unfilmable' book into a film". The Independent. 28 September 2017.
  2. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (May 19, 2017). "Cannes: Stephen King Novel 'Gerald's Game' To Be Adapted By 'Oculus' Helmer Mike Flanagan And Intrepid Pictures". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  3. ^ "Mike Flanagan looks forward to doing justice to Stephen King". Rue Morgue. Marrs Media. Archived from the original on October 15, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (October 17, 2016). "Carla Gugino & Bruce Greenwood Star In Stephen King's 'Gerald's Game' For Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  5. ^ Boyd, Jared (October 18, 2016). "Producer confirms Stephen King film production in Mobile". Advance Local Media. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  6. ^ Coming Soon (August 23, 2017). "Netflix September 2017 Movie and TV Titles Announced". CraveOnline Media. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  7. ^ "Gerald's Game (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  8. ^ "Gerald's Game Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  9. ^ Zinski, Dan (February 12, 2017). "Stephen King: Netflix's Gerald's Game Movie is 'Horrifying, Hypnotic'". Screen Rant. Retrieved July 13, 2018.

External links[edit]