Psychological Horror Reveals The Darkest Demons
By: Josiah Akhtab
American psychological horror film “Gerald’s Game” released on September 29, directed by Mike Flanagan and adapted from author Stephen King’s novel of the same name, presents a cerebral yet uncannily relatable concept—facing your demons.
“Gerald’s Game” revolves around Jessie Burlingame (Carla Gugino), whose husband Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) suffers a heart attack during a kinky sex game. While handcuffed to the bed, Jessie becomes increasingly disoriented from lack of food and water. In her weakened state, she begins hearing voices and having strange, unnerving visions.
Throughout the movie, the visions of Gerald and herself ask probing questions that force her to open up and admit the dark truths she suppressed for so long.
Jessie’s consciousness drudged up reasons why her life has gone the way it has.
It brought about questions of her relationship with her father, and the striking similarities that has to her relationship with Gerald. It forced her to address issues she knows, but is too afraid to admit.
The horror aspects of the movie are well done, as it eschews the usual concepts related to the genre by basing itself in reality.
There are many things people will take to their graves, and the movie tackles that idea by using a life or death situation to force a confrontation of past demons.
“Gerald’s Game” uses its characters as a means to inspire the audience to look deeper at themselves, to evaluate their dark secrets and the parts of their pasts they aren’t proud of.
This movie takes the base fear of being alone in the dark, and accentuates that by placing Jessie in an extremely dire situation.
That’s not the scariest part however, there is also what Gerald calls “The Moonlight Man”.
The Moonlight Man represents death, the entity that haunts you in your dreams as well as reality.
He appears in Jessie’s dreams of the past as well as her waking nightmares, for monsters of the night have nothing on the demons that haunt her every day.
The acting in “Gerald’s Game” is very convincing; Carla Gugino does an excellent job of representing how someone would act in such a dramatic and terrifying situation.
The dialogue, along with the acting, brought out another concept that was integral to the story: that it literally took her husband dying right in front of her for Jessie’s marital issues to be addressed.
Jessie recalled disgusting situations like when Gerald alluded to a joke he told at a christmas party, referring to women as “life support for a cunt.”
The concept of bondage comes into play both literally and figuratively.
Jessie’s handcuffs on the bed parallel the figurative handcuffs placed by her father and the silence he evoked when he masterbated behind her when she was 12.
The heavy motifs of the movie were isolation, hallucination, and nightmares.
All of them accentuated the horror of being alone, doing very well to capture the cause and effect of mental strain.
The tone of the movie is very sinister, making it a perfect choice for a late night thrill.
The movie pays for those who pay attention and listen to dialogue, allowing for thoughts to swirl and the psychology of the movie to be internalized.
If you’re searching for something that plays with the mind, makes you question your beliefs or inner demons and forces some deep introspection, then “Gerald’s Game” is definitely worth a watch.