Written and Edited By Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Rob Reiner
Producer: Steve Nicolaides, Rob Reiner, et. al.
Screenplay: William Goldman
Date Released: November 30, 1990
Rate = 3.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
When author and writer, Paul Sheldon (James Caan), is involved in a car crash, he is taken to a nearby home where he is cared for by a strange woman, Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). When Paul tries to leave, Annie prevents him from doing so by engaging in cruel and unusual treatment methods that make Paul unable to leave. Paul must find a way to escape the clutches of this insane woman.
The infamous hobbling scene where Annie takes a sledgehammer and breaks both of Paul’s feet is disturbing and grotesque. It arguably is a timeless and iconic horror moment. The remainder of the film is more focused on suspense and light on blood and gore aspects.
The Grave Review
The scariest part about Misery is that these scenarios happen in real life. That is, there have been countless incidents in which someone has been kidnapped and prevented from leaving. Some of the most recent cases within the last twenty or so years have been that of Jayme Closs, Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard among other victims. In this respect, Misery depicts a disturbing situation which continues to be at issue today.
Misery (1990) brings the tension and suspense to the audience as they are watching to see if Paul Sheldon (James Caan) will get caught snooping around the house. Misery does a good job of incorporating this aspect into the film.
The real selling point of Misery is the performance of the actor, James Caan, and actress, Kathy Bates. Bates’s disturbing portrayal of Annie Wilkins gives you an uncomfortable feeling throughout the entirety of the film. As a viewer, you never know what Annie will do as her emotions and temper fluctuate from every scene and in this way, Bates played this role exceptionally well. In addition, Caan’s performance of Paul Sheldon also exemplified his desperation to try to survive the insane Annie Wilkins.
The film is generally slow-paced. Although, for a film that revolves around someone being held captive, the slow pace is justified. Nevertheless, at certain points in Misery, you feel as trapped and helpless as Paul Sheldon did. From an entertainment standpoint, Misery may not be for everyone, but overall, the Misery was a fun watch.
For the above reasons, Grave Reviews gives Misery (1990), three and one-half out of five graves.
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You may also like our review of the 2019 film, Escape Room.