Director: Zak Hilditch
Writer(s): Zak Hilditch, Stephen King (Short Story)
Release Date: October 20, 2017
This review is part of our 31 Days of Horror series. You can check out the other posts by clicking these words.
A sex game went inconceivably wrong. Rape fantasies. Dark daddy issues. Unsurprisingly, Gerald’s Game is based on a Stephen King novel. 2017 has become such a laborious task to cover everything related to King that a part of me wishes the celebrated author would leave us all alone. Little did I know that his material would creep onto Netflix as an Original. In the case of Gerald’s Game, I am rather happy it did.
The premise is not complex or difficult to get your head around. Imagine a marriage needing saving. Your sex-craving husband makes plans to whisk you away to a holiday home in the middle of nowhere. The finest foods are stocked in the fridge, fine wine and expensive champagne are cooly placed on the shelves and the entire house is pristine and clean. All that is required now is for both people involved to muster up enough sexual energy to enjoy each other. Unfortunately, Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) wants to impose a rape fantasy onto his wife Jessie (Carla Gugino) and to his dismay, she is not into it at all. Sound familiar? I’m joking. In the case of Jessie this is no laughing matter. Her husband collapses from a heart attack and she is attached to two sturdy bedposts by state of the art handcuffs.
Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), a former army serviceman, is a hotel night manager. When he meets shady businessman Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie), he is working in a Swiss hotel where, he is told, Roper is a frequent guest. The second he claps eyes on Roper and the very extravagant life he leads, Jonathan’s guard is immediately up, especially when he manages to make a link to events he witnessed when he worked in Cairo a while before. When he decides to take a look inside an envelope that Roper handed him upon his arrival, he makes a sinister discovery. He sends the information to whomever it may concern and the next thing he knows is he is being offered an undercover job by operative Angela Burr (Olivia Colman) to try and bring Roper down. Jonathan reluctantly accepts the invitation to bring down the worst man in the world in the hope that it may also provide the answers to all the questions that remained unanswered after his time in Egypt.
I was waiting for The Night Manager for the best part of four months after it was first shown to us in the BBC’s 2015 Winter Preview. When there was no sign of it showing before Christmas, I was beginning to wonder whether we would ever get to see it, and whether it was going to be worth the wait. Well, towards the end of February, The Night Manager was finally shown and it was most defiantly worth the wait.
In The Dark is a TV show that was brand new this year. It follows Detective Helen Weeks (MyAnna Buring) as she embarks upon two separate cases in two two-part stories. I have to be honest and say that I was not overly impressed by this programme. It was only watchable at best, which was quite disappointing considering the amount of talent boasted by the cast.
Before I get into any real slating of the show, I’ll quickly cover the main performance. The obvious place to start is with MyAnna Buring, who was the main draw for me here. I’m a fan of her work due to Ripper Street, and the characters she has always seemed to portray – I’ve never been able to accuse her of playing meek women, and that’s why I like her work so much. In that respect, I should’ve been all over her as Helen here, but something just didn’t click for me. I don’t think that’s down to Buring’s performance though. Much of this show was held down by the script, which was very clunky in multiple places, quite often losing rhythm at key points in the story. And, as is often the case, good actors were brought crashing to the ground by it.
Following a terrorist attack on a beach, a civilian decides to take action against those behind the incident.
When Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) proposes to his girlfriend whilst on holiday at a beach resort, he didn’t anticipate the engagement being cut horrendously short by a terrorist attack in which almost everyone on the beach was injured or killed. In the months following the attack, Mitch decides that he wants sweet revenge. He puts himself in position to make a move on the man behind the attack that killed his loved one, only to be interrupted by U.S. armed forces just before he’s about to strike. He is held in custody before being referred to Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton), the man in charge of training individuals who are to be involved in black-ops style missions. The men prove themselves to be a real match for each other, and it’s not long before the two are going out on their first operation together to put a stop to an ex-trainee of Hurley’s wicked ways.
I was quite excited about American Assassin. On the surface, it looked like it was going to be a great action film that could potentially have been the making of Dylan O’Brien in slightly more grown-up cinema. Now I’ve seen it I have to be honest and say it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be, but that it was worth seeing nonetheless, and I do think it may have succeeded in helping the lead shed some of those more adolescent roles.