YOU’LL probably have noticed that a host of Stephen King movies have flooded the market as of late; some great (like the terrifying It) and some not so great (looking at you, The Dark Tower). This adaptation of King’s 1992 suspense novel utterly demands attention.

Long-time married couple Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) head up to a secluded lake house for a romantic getaway. In an attempt to spice things up in the bedroom, Gerald suggests tying his wife to the bed. Out comes the metal handcuffs and, for us, a paranoid sense that something is about to go very wrong.

After Gerald takes the ensuing roleplay a bit too far and the two of them start their usual arguing, tragedy strikes when he suffers from a heart attack and drops dead. This leaves a disbelieving and soon terrified Jessie stranded handcuffed to the bed, alone for miles and with no chance of escape or rescue anytime soon.

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It’s a devilishly frightening and scarily believable scenario which leads to a film that works just as well as a straightforward predicament thriller as it does an exploration of a traumatised mind and the inner strength to overcome the hold it can have on someone’s life.

Writer-director Mike Flanagan is one of the most exciting voices in horror-thriller cinema to emerge in recent years after the likes of Oculus, Hush and the surprisingly effective Ouija: Origin of Evil. Here he wrings every bit of nail-biting, “what would I do in this situation?” tension of the dilemma as possible in the same way as Rob Reiner did with ‘90s King-based thriller Misery, marrying fearsome reality and unsettling flights of fancy to brilliant effect. Not to mention giving us one of the most shockingly graphic moments of the year so far.

Despite being physically restricted to the bedroom inside the painfully remote house, we are taken on a journey inside Jessie increasingly fraught mind, meritoriously portrayed by Gugino. She gets to shine in a challenging role that she more than makes sure dodges simplistic female victimhood.

She sees visions of her dead husband and eventually another version of herself, two sides of her psyche debating her possibility of survival and forcing her to confront the state of her marriage and past traumas that led her to this moment.

We also leave the confines of the room to venture into her traumatic childhood memories brought frightfully to mind by her current predicament. It’s these moments of emotional weight that tighten around the panic-stricken situation like a noose to elevate it higher than a potentially gimmicky one location horror-thriller.

Gerald’s Game is available on Netflix now.