Gerald's Game (film)

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Gerald's Game
Film poster
Directed byMike Flanagan
Produced byTrevor Macy
Written byMike Flanagan
Jeff Howard
Based onGerald's Game
by Stephen King
StarringCarla Gugino
Bruce Greenwood
Music byThe Newton Brothers
CinematographyMichael Fimognari
Edited byMike Flanagan
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • 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 drama film directed and edited by Mike Flanagan and written by Jeff Howard and Flanagan. It is based on Stephen King's 1992 novel of the same name. An adaptation of the novel was long thought to be unfilmable until Mike Flanagan came in.[1] The film stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood.

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


Jessie and Gerald arrive at an isolated lake house in Fairhope, Alabama, for some time away. While Gerald takes Viagra, Jessie feeds a stray dog outside, but when re-entering the house leaves the door ajar. Jessie changes into a new night dress, placing the tag on a shelf above the bed, and practices sexy poses. 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; she seems a bit surprised by this, but goes along. He begins to enact a stranger rape fantasy, telling her to scream for help, knowing no one will hear. She half-heartedly plays along but soon becomes uncomfortable, telling him to stop and uncuff her; he replies, "What if I won't?" After a heated argument where he accuses her of not even trying to rekindle their relationship, Gerald dies of a heart attack, falling onto the floor, leaving Jessie in handcuffs.

The dog enters and 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, but Jessie notices his body remains on the floor. He taunts Jessie about the truths of their strained marriage and his erectile dysfunctions. He then informs her that she has wasted hours already doing nothing, and she is beginning to suffer from dehydration and fatigue. Jessie miraculously pulls a hand out of a cuff and breaks free. She gloats to Gerald, but then turns around and tells herself, the one still trapped, that it is easy to escape. Gerald and the self-assured Jessie tell things about herself and Gerald that she never had the courage to acknowledge. They trigger her to remember the glass of water above the bed, which she is able to reach but cannot bring all the way to her mouth. The hallucinations remind her of the tag she put on the shelf, which she rolls into a straw in order to reach the water.

Jessie falls asleep, wakes up in the dark, and sees a tall, deformed, obscured figure who reveals a bag of various bones and trinkets. She closes her eyes saying, "You're not real." But Gerald appears to say that the figure is Death waiting to take her. Gerald begins to call Jessie "Mouse", which unsettles her. This triggers a memory of her father, Tom, who affectionately referred to her as "Mouse." She is 12 years old, vacationing at a lake house with her family. Young Jessie says, regarding the lake house, "It’s so much smaller than I remember…". Her father responds with "That’s ‘cuz you’re bigger." As Jessie and her father sit alone outside to watch a solar eclipse, he suggests she sit on his lap, as she did when she was younger. Once on his lap, he masturbates. The handcuffed Jessie awakes to intense pain due to her circulation being cut off and cramping. Gerald and the confident Jessie are skeptical about her claims that she dealt with the pressure of keeping such a secret, and her claims that it had nothing to do with her marriage, even though she married a man just like her father. Gerald teases Jessie about the disfigured man she saw, whom he calls "the man made of moonlight", and points out what he suspects is a bloody footprint on the floor. After the eclipse, her father tells her he was ashamed of what he did, and manipulates her into agreeing never to tell anyone.

Jessie remembers cutting her hand that night, when she squeezed a glass too hard when her mother asked her about the eclipse. The adult Jessie smashes the water glass and cuts her wrist in a way that enables her to peel back the skin, allowing her bloody hand to slip through the cuff. She drags the bed to the key, unlocking her other hand. She drinks water and bandages herself, but then passes out on the floor from blood loss and fatigue. When she wakes, the "man made of moonlight" is at the end of the hall, and she gives him her wedding ring for his trinket bag. She makes it to her car and drives away, but sees the man again in the back seat. The car crashes into a tree, but people from a nearby house come out.

Six months later, Jessie is writing a letter to her 12-year-old self, struggling to write with her hand that needed skin grafts. Voice-overs and scenes describe how she had pretended to have amnesia over the whole 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. Her wedding ring was never found in the house, and she learned from the news that a man who has acromegaly, causing disfiguration of his head, is a serial killer who dug up crypts, stealing bones and jewels, and occasionally eating the faces of male corpses. This explains why he did not harm Jessie in the house and also why Gerald's face was disfigured. Jessie arrives at court as the moonlight man is being sentenced, and calls for his attention. He quotes what she said before leaving the house, indicating that he was in fact there at the time. Seeing also Gerald's and Tom's face where his face is, she says "You're so much smaller than I remember", and walks triumphantly out into the street with the sunlight gleaming down on her.



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 would produce the film through Intrepid Pictures.[2] In an interview with Rue Morgue in September 2016, 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.[3] 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.[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.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Gerald's Game received widely positive reviews. According to the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, 90% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 72 reviews, with an average rating of 7.45/10. 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 assigns and normalizes scores of critic reviews, the film has a weighted average 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 April 18, 2019.
  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.

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