Netflix Stephen King Horror Thriller Is Near Perfect Until The Very Ending

By TeeJay Small | Updated

The works of Stephen King are widely known to contain some super strange elements that often fail to translate to the big screen. One Stephen King adaptation that mostly circumvents this issue is 2017’s Gerald’s Game, which was written and directed by legendary Netflix horror filmmaker Mike Flanagan.

While the film is excellent and emotionally resonant throughout nearly its entire runtime, it takes a sharp left turn into crazy-town in the last 5-10 minutes, basically ruining the entire movie.

Gerald’s Game

Gerald’s Game centers on a simple and horrifying premise, following Carla Gugino’s Jessie and Bruce Greenwood’s Gerald Burlingame as they embark upon a romantic weekend in a remote cabin with the intention of spicing up their strained marriage.

As the audience soon comes to learn, Gerald has taken part in a number of trysts with other women over the years, and has developed a penchant for bringing kinky surprises into the bedroom, including handcuffs and aggressive role-play.

While Jessie initially seems game for the adventurous hookup, she quickly loses enthusiasm due to her lack of agency, sending the couple into a heated argument.

Upping The Tension

Just as Gerald is preparing to remove the handcuffs, tethering Jessie to the bedpost, he collapses in a heart attack, leaving her completely stranded and unable to call for help.

As the plot of Gerald’s Game progresses, the film expertly ratchets up the tension at every corner with a number of horrifying set pieces and psychological twists that will leave audiences at home screaming and crying.

As Jessie struggles in futility to escape from her shackles, she must fight off a hungry stray dog that wanders into the cabin, hallucinations of her past abusers, and a creepy bone-collecting monster who represents her trauma and fear of death.

A Bloody Escape

Eventually, Jessie manages to escape from the cuffs in one of the most gruesome and bloody scenes ever committed to the Netflix platform, allowing her just enough time to speed away from the cabin and escape to safety.

If Gerald’s Game had concluded and cut to black at that very moment, it would easily be a perfect 10/10 film, rife with emotional highs, horrifying imagery, and incredibly well-realized themes about women’s empowerment, generational trauma, and finding your strength.

A Baffling Choice

Gerald's game

Of course, the film doesn’t cut to black in that triumphant moment. Instead, Gerald’s Game uses its final few minutes to explain to the audience that the 8-foot-tall bone-collecting monster man was not a manifestation of trauma, but was, in fact, a real psychotic giant carrying a bag of bones through the woods.

Perhaps this baffling choice made more sense within the context of the 1992 novel from which this film was adapted, but it completely undercuts the seriousness of the movie, and completely trivializes the entire film.

What Just Happened?

Gerald's game

The very last scene of Gerald’s Game sees the terrifying bone man taken into police custody and appearing before a judge at a legal trial for having marauded his way through the woods, mutilating people and stealing their bones and valuables.

While the monster appeared terrifying and compelling in the cover of moonlight, the stark reality in the courthouse showcases just how absurd the existence of this character is.

No Chance This Happens

Gerald's game

How exactly was this enormous creature moving around silently as he skulked through the cabin, providing numerous jump-scares throughout the runtime of Gerald’s Game?

How is it possible that this instantly recognizable monster man was able to evade police capture for years at a time while periodically walking into random houses in the night?

And most importantly, if this bone man is real, does that mean he was actually licking Jessie’s feet in that one scene? Because if so, that instantly makes this a 2/10 movie, at best.

Gerald’s Game On Netflix

carla gugino Gerald's game


At the end of the day, Gerald’s Game is still a great film, even if it loses significant points for its left-field ending. If you’re interested in catching the acclaimed horror film, Gerald’s Game is currently streaming on Netflix.

If you want to really improve your viewing experience, just turn it off as soon as Jessie returns home from the cabin, and enjoy your head-canon that the bone man was simply a psychological narrative device.