Chocolate donuts at Arena Cafe. Donuts in cafes in Kerala never impress me. The couple of times I’ve had Dunkin or Krispy Kreme were lovely.
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, long thought to be unfilmable. The film stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood as a married couple staying in an isolated house during 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.
Married couple Jessie & Gerald leave their home for a secluded lake house in Fairhope, Alabama and plan to rekindle their sex life. Just as they are about to reach the house they see a large stray dog on the road and Jessie feeds it some meat. She & Gerald then go to their bedroom and hanges 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 but Gerald is surprised that she won’t play along. Her argues with her and accuses her of not trying to make their sex life better when he clutches his heart and dies of an attack.
Jessie cries out but there is no one nearby, however the stray dog comes in through the door that they left open. and Jessie tries to scare it away, but it bites a chunk out of Gerald’s arm and eats it. As the hours pass by and night is setting Jessie has hallucinations of Gerald and herself talking to her and each other. She starts to suffer from dehydration and fatigue. 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. After she drinks some of the water she falls asleep but wakes up to see sees a tall, deformed, obscured figure who reveals a bag of various bones and trinkets. She closes her eyes saying, “You’re not real.” When she opens her eyes he is not there. When her hallucination of Gerald calls her mouse, it triggers a memory of her father, Tom, who affectionately referred to her as “Mouse.”
As a 12 year old while watching the solar eclipse 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. She realizes, through the hallucinations of herself & Gerald, 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. She sees 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 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.
6 months later she writes a letter to her 12 year old self 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.
It was long thought that to be unfilmable until Netflix came up with this movie. Gerald’s Game was released on September 29, 2017, by Netflix. It received very positive reviews from critics, who lauded Gugino’s performance; Flanagan’s direction, as well as the film’s themes and their treatment, were also singled out. I give the film an 8 outta 10!
Netflix has become a force of nature in recent years, with the era of the subscription going from magazines and pink boxes to television series and movies that we now can’t live without. The list of TV series we each have backed up on our Netflix watchlists is insane, and the local stores are stocked with those TV series’ immortalised on DVD. There have been huge leaps and bounds in television series’, with plenty of development going on. We’ve gone from advert-ridden TV episodes following storylines of comedic duos, to fully immersive experiences that get the watcher going when they’re in front of the screen. It’s like the TV world is experiencing a third Golden Age, and we are LOVING it.
We have coined the phrase “Netflix and chill” and we make a point of settling in front of Netflix with a pizza at least once a week. We broke through the TV monotony with the quality of the programs that are released in quick succession and we are falling in love with more shows than ever. But why? What is it about Netflix and similar TV subscriptions that have us on the edge of our seats? It’s all about that immersive experience, so let’s talk about that!
We are living in an age of experience. We want more from everything; developing virtual reality and combining our TV and gaming experiences with artificial intelligence. Experience is doing more than information is right now, which is why we are a generation of watchers. Bloggers get fewer views than vloggers. Companies with videos on their websites are doing better than those who don’t. So, it makes sense that we want a more immersive and all-encompassing experience!
We want to dive in and feel the show and the characters every emotion. It’s why immersive theatre is on the rise, and it’s filtered down to our TV viewing pleasure. Immersive theatre is where the audience becomes part of the performance, where the sets are elaborate, and the costumes by Akua Murray Adoboe are exciting and captivating. The result of all of this has filtered to horror movies and TV series like Game of Thrones that bring us all in and make us fall in love, cry, feel the fear – it’s all a part of the experience. Here are some of the reasons we crave more experiences in our TV shows:
We jump out of our extended hours at work and straight into our Netflix TV list. We put everything else out of the room, and we watch our characters like they’re our best friends and worst enemies, and we do it with our hands clasping our cheeks. The way that we press ourselves into the TV shows that we love pulls us out of our everyday lives and into something entirely different.
When you watch some films, you can immediately appreciate the technology and level of detail that has gone into it. Think about the way we respond to Game of Thrones or Stranger Things: we question everything, we enjoy the thrill of exploring a world that has been created entirely with CGI. It gives us the chance to imagine the experience of the actors who had to pretend they flew dragons and slew aliens – but really they were looking at a green screen and an orange on a stick! You can transport yourself to another world with the click of a button
More than anything else, we seek excitement, and we want to feel something deep inside. Our love of being overstimulated filters down through every avenue in life, and we want to feel confused, scared, overjoyed. We even want to sob hard with a good weepy to reach the emotions usually numbed down by work!
So, Why Do We Love TV So Much?
Well, there are a lot of answers to this question more than the reasons we love an immersive experience. TV is something so different from what we had in front of us for years, and today, the leading TV shows that really make us binge watch are those that are aimed at a very small target audience. It used to be that TV show writers would write their shows to appeal to a broad audience – well, everyone – but now it’s not the case. Game of Thrones isn’t for everyone (those who don’t like it are wrong), but it’s not written for everyone, which is why it’s so popular! We enjoy the quality and the picture that we get on the wider screen TVs that we buy.
As well as all this, we all love that TV series is now on par with the movies that come out every week. They’re as deep, as exciting and as gripping as the blockbusters, and the number of viewers that TV series now get is proof of how much people fall in love with the experience that TV now offers. We mentioned earlier that this could be a third Golden Age of TV, and here were the first two:
- 1940 – 1955: I Love Lucy & Perry Mason dominated our TV screens and made us all fall in love with cheeky, comedic characters.
- 1990-2000: We love the 90s, and the series like NYPD Blue, Moonlighting, and Northern Exposure all dominated the screens.
- Now: Now? Now we have Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The West Wing and we are loving.
The 1970s have always been cited as a low point in TV history, and it’s the shows of the Golden Ages that we remember the most. You may not be addicted to the blue-screen technology pushed out by your TV screen, but you would be addicted to the qualities of the shows that you see and fall for. Rustle up the popcorn and order in; TV shows are getting better and better.