Despite the literal manifestation of the Moonlight Man destroying its grounded realism, Gerald's Game is deep in its metaphor of feminist liberation from male sexual aggression. While not reaching the nail-biting tension of Cortes' Buried, and despite its dramatic rhythm and emotional pacing being slack, with its dimension and potent dark humor, it's still an enduring effort.
The coda seems necessary, providing a point of catharsis. It underlines the central themes of abuse & survival, while also showing how the protagonist is finally able to accept that she wasn't to blame. The way the editing conflates the two abusers of Jess into one supposedly imaginary bogeyman figure, reinforces the idea, quite disturbingly, that some monsters are real. The performances & adaptation are impeccable.
That masturbation scene under the red eclipse was one of the creepiest things I've watched recently. We didn't need to have everything explained so clearly - even the Moonlight Man, who turned out to be a real -life serial killer - and I would have liked for it to end on a more somber/mysterious note... but it was fun to watch. (And Gerald was fiiiiiine for his age!)
"Gerald's Game" is an easy film to respect - for Bruce Greenwood's charismatic performance, for what I understand to be Mike Flanagan's fealty to his source material - but with graphic depictions of child abuse in the context of what is essentially an exploitation movie, and a head-scratching coda that turns the story's metaphorical monster into a reality, I'd be lying if I said it was a film I truly enjoyed.
Visibly low-budget, GERLAD'S GAME is writer/director Mike Flanagan's adaptation of a pulpy, feminist Stephen King novel. Bruce Greenwood gives sexy Carla Gugino a run for her money, six pack et al. First-half is strikingly directed and suspenseful, but still not enough to overcome the staginess, or that laughably bad epilogue. Keep your eyes on young Chiara Aurelia: she'll go places. Comes with an extended CUJO joke.
Just like the novel, the film does not leave anything to the imagination: every detail is explained with dummies-like clarity like three times (when metaphors turn literal, you know you're watching a film for the multiplex crowd). The "every man is a Boogeyman/girrrl power" trope could have been much more powerful had Flanagan avoided the ridiculously campy epilogue. A missed opportunity.