Director: Rob Reiner
Writer: Stephen King (novel)
Released: 1990 (It seemed like late 90s though)

It has been a long time since I felt uneasy going to bed after watching a horror film.

Actually, this psychological thriller isn’t that horrific (for the most part..), it’s just when it finishes that you realise how disturbed you feel…

I haven’t read the book, but it’s pretty common knowledge that Stephen King’s work translates to film very successfully (The Shining, The Green Mile, Secret Window…) so I knew that I was in for a spectacular treat.

In a remote town, the popular author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) checks out of the hotel where he stays every time he writes a novel. On the completion of his new book, he begins his drive home until he gets caught in a blizzard. His car flips out of control and lands out of sight buried in snow.

But somebody is there to save him – his biggest fan, Annie Wilkes.

She treats him at her isolated house, which is fine until Paul realisees that he is actually being held captive.

Annie Wilke’s mood swings on a dime, yet she is not easily fooled! Her use of language is so freaky… Yet sort of funny… Which makes you feel very uneasy when laughing while watching this film.

“…he didn’t get out of the COCKADOODIE CAR!”.
“You’re just another lying ol’ dirty birdy.”
“…you just better start showing me a little appreciation around here, Mr. MAN!”

Kathy Bates plays Annie Wilkes. This scene being the most memorable… For all of the wrong reasons…

With the famous novelist being bed-ridden in Wilke’s home, he has to find ways to reach the outside world. Still reliant on his capturer for medicine, he needs to play along to ensure she doesn’t get suspicious whilst thinking up plans to alert the outside world.

Kathy Bates will always be the Unsinkable Molly Brown (Titanic) to me. (As well as being an uncanny resemblance to my year 13 English teacher…). So to see her as a controlling, deceiving and deeply unsettling person was quite a shock. Bates really was incredible in this role!

Misery400The cool thing is that James Caan’s character is one step ahead of you, but Annie is two steps ahead of him.

The music imitates the mood very well. In fact I honestly didn’t notice the music because it added to the scenes so perfectly. In the credits “I’ll Be Seeing You” was played… I can’t listen to that song in the same way any more. So creepy.

This film is full of anticipation and anxiety – but not with the usual frustration you get when the victim is just not getting away fast enough, it’s much smarter than those gags.

“Book’s almost finished, your legs are getting better. Soon you’ll be wanting to leave… I have this gun. Sometimes I think about using it. I’d better go now. I might put bullets in it.”
– Annie Wilkes.

The shots and lighting have to be kept interesting as the film is more-or-less based in one room (King’s novel was made into a stage play first). So check out the extras on the DVD if you’re interested.

The low angles make Annie’s innocent exterior look distorted which reflects how she is on the inside, and the lighting  gives you hints as to if and when to feel hopeful. Very clever when you take notice of it.

This film is not a blood-bath, but has graphic violence. But not for the sake of being graphic (like all seven Saw films…). It really keeps your attention strongly from start to finish. A fantastic watch!

Jodie’s rating: 8.5/10

The original trailer:

About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working in marketing, and writing fiction in my spare time. I love to write about movies on this blog when I can. I also do paid reviews and voiceovers via Fiverr (nzfilmfreak).
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3 Responses to Misery

  1. Pingback: I’ll Be Seeing You – Billie Holiday | The Film Freak of NZ

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  3. Pingback: A Few Good Men | NZ Film Freak

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