50 Shades Of Grim.
Uh-oh spaghetti-o, I’ve been a little bit absent over the past few weeks. I wish there was a tidy excuse for this but I’m just hideously lazy, my life is a mess and I detest what I love most.
Still, what better flick to return with than a kinky sex game gone wrong, because that’s basically the state of my life right now. It seems kinda fitting that my last movie review, over a month ago now (jeez get it together Milo), was of IT, a sterling Stephen King adaptation (you best click that link, muthalicka), because today we’re looking at another King flick and you know Stevey K is raking in that sweet cashola baybee.
In an attempt to spice up their marital f*ck-life, Gerald and Jessie take a lil’ weekend getaway to a remote house in the woods, where Gerald plans on some kinky goings-on indeed, my maaan. However, as things heat up, Gerald goes cold, dying of a heart attack and leaving Jessie handcuffed to the bed with no one around to hear her screams. So, does Gerald’s Game have what it takes to get you off, or put you off?
The plot, being a Stephen King adaptation, is gruesome but wholly unique in it’s own right. However, I didn’t really understand the big humdrum of “OMIGOD HOW COULD THEY TURN GERALD’S GAME INTO A MOVIE whAAAAaaaT?????” because, in a world where 50 Shades is the fifth highest selling book in the UK, another kinky flick isn’t really a big deal. Moreover, there were moments where the tone of the film wobbled. While it remained a horror throughout, the lines of psychological and supernatural where played with a little bit and it didn’t work for me.
The direction, from Mike Flanagan, the directorial shit from The Blum-house of Shite Horror Movies, with Oculus, Hush and Ouija: Origin Of Evil under his piss-dripping belt, is extremely standard, mediocre, unspecial in every way. Yes, I did just make up ‘unspecial’ as a word, I figured it should have something mildly interesting about it. The panning shots felt mandatory, the close-ups follow a really safe, and, tragically, once interesting formula and the lighting, especially in the night shots (obviously), is complete bullshit, to the extent that SPOILERS, THERE ARE INCOMING SPOILERS, AVERT YOUR EYES, PROTECT THE CHILDREN, USE GRANDAD AS A HUMAN SHIELD when the so-called killer came out, I wasn’t scared because I couldn’t see his goddamn anything, just a vague figure, and I know this wasn’t meant to be from how they talked about it later in the film. I took for my own morbid curiosity and me googling what the dude looked like for the film to have any horrific effect on me. YOU’RE OKAY NOW IT’S ALL GONE, JUST, COME HERE, LISTEN, I PROMISE I WON’T DO IT AGAIN.
Plus, the eclipse imagery. OH MY GOD THE GODDAMN ECLIPSE IMAGERY. Jesus Louesus, there was a whole big deal about blood moons and eclipses and all that toss, especially in Jessie’s backstory, which, if used well, could’ve been a really good piece of visuals to add to the more supernatural aspects of the film. However, it wasn’t used well and, honestly, it made very little sense. In fact, it made no f*cking sense. In fact, I made more sense when I was raging on horse amphetamines back in Vietnam ’66. WHAT A VINTAGE VACATION THAT WAS, and a magical wedding too. This led to the blood moon being shoehorned in all the friggin’ time in what blatantly looked like a desperate desire to create iconography, all the same lines of a red balloon or a honeycomb carpet. Needless to say, it didn’t really work.
Our two leads, Jessie and Gerald (Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood respectively) present to us a relationship riddled with questions which, to the film’s credit, do end up being answered, with the only loose ends by the finale being Carla Gugino’s wrists (a-hawdy-haw). While, separately, both Greenwood and Gugino perform like pros, which they are, with Gugino technically playing two roles, each exceptionally well, the chemistry between the two at the start of the film, seems cold and unfamiliar. Yes, they are playing a couple who a desperately salvaging any kind of affection, so it’s gonna be a bit chilly, but it’s that aforementioned unfamiliarity that leads to not buy them as a couple.
I LIED ABOUT THE SPOILERS THING I’M SORRY BUT I’M SURE YOU’LL GET OVER IT, THERE’S A LITTLE MORE IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH. UMM I THINK THERE’S A WHERE’S WALLY (OR WALDO (ew)) IN THE RECEPTION FOR Y’ALL WHILE I DO THIS.
My least favourite aspect of the film is that wobbly tone I mentioned in the opening paragraph, and I don’t think it could be more accurately represented in a visual way than in the film’s finale where Jessie does finally escape from her ‘cuffs. Reasoning, from a series of flashbacks, the blood is extremely slick, Jessie slits her wrist on a broken glass and, while she is tugging at the her wrists to free herself, she rips the skin and we get an extremely gruesome shot of her tendons and bizniz. Now, I’m extremely squeamish about my wrists anyway, to the point that writing about this is making me curl my toes, so you can imagine the level of cringe this was at. But, more to the point, this was the only violence in the entire film. It felt like shock value, that’s all I gotta say.
RIGHTY-ROO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO, SPOILERS ARE OVER AND IT’S TIME TO PARTY.
Overall, the 35th Stephen King film of the year did not impress me, especially compared to IT‘s surprise success. While Carla Gugino pulled off a marvelous, if a little sweaty, lead role, her chemistry with the also good Bruce Greenwood let her down. While the original plot outline was fantastically unique, director Mike Flanagan’s clumsy job cluttered up the tone into something that, while ultimately scary, scraped through the run time.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations