Thursday, May 19, 2016

If Stephen King Wrote the Screenplay for "127 Hours," It Would Look Like This

Source: Goodreads
Gerald’s Game by Stephen King (1992; Pocket Books, 2016, 480pp).

Hoping to jazz up their sex life, Jessie’s middle-aged hubby, Gerald, handcuffs her to the bed at their secluded summer cabin for a good, old-fashioned sex game. What could have been just another unpleasant evening for Jessie to endure suddenly takes a deadly turn when, minutes after slapping the cuffs on her, Gerald drops dead of a massive heart attack. Now she’s trapped, miles from help. The handcuff keys are located on a far-away dresser-top. The telephone is in the other room. And—as she soon finds out—there’s a starving stray dog outside looking for meat. Unfortunately for Jessie—but especially for poor Gerald—someone forgot to close the back door…

Do you remember that movie 127 Hours, where James Franco finds himself trapped in a ravine with a boulder crushing his arm? Gerald’s Game is kind of like that: like Hours, it focuses on a protagonist trapped in dire circumstances, who experiences a requisite period of self-examination, and comes to a personal revelation that prompts her to attempt an all-or-nothing escape. Unlike 127 Hours, which is well-paced and inspiring, Gerald’s Game is by turns fleet-footed and plodding, an absorbing character study that runs on for far too long. Had King pared his idea down to a short story, he probably would have been the better for it. And while there are some genuinely prime scares in the story, these moments are all too often out-weighed by grisly descriptions of the stray dog nomming on pieces of dead Gerald. In other words, if you gross-out easily, avoid this book like the plague. For King’s regular fans? It’s not bad, but certainly not his best.

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