Paul is a very successful writer of the "Misery" novels. After finishing writing a novel that was solely for himself, he gets caught up in a terrible snowstorm and gets into a serious car accident. He surely would've died if it had not been for his number one fan, Annie, rescuing him from his car and nursing him back to health while his fractured legs heal. Just when he thinks he's the luckiest guy in the world, he slowly starts to learn that Annie just might not be that much of a wonderful person, especially when it comes to a point where she's literally holding him hostage in her house in the middle of nowhere. Paul used to write for a living... now, he must write to save his very life.
The directing and screenplay of this film was very well done. I have not read the book, so I can't really comment if the movie stays true to the book. I also really liked the music in it, which reminded me of "Psycho." Kathy Bates is truly remarkable at playing a psychotic fan with nothing to lose. As you see her more and more in the movie, you feel her slowly slipping into insanity that will scare the hell out of you. Although this movie is not gratuitously violent, when the violent scenes do happen they are very intense and almost hard to watch, so be warned. Be prepared to see something very gruesome and painful--I won't give away the part, but chances are you already know what happens from some of the parodies of this movie.
All in all, this was a great thriller that kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time. You will feel disturbed and uneasy by the time it's all said and done. If you're a Stephen King fan, or you just like a good thriller that never lets go, "Misery" will do just the job for you.
The film depicts the story of novelist Paul Sheldon who when completing a book always stays at a lonely mountain retreat to put the final polish on his works. After completing his latest offering he begins the long journey back to New York but is caught in a blizzard and is injured in a car crash. Rescuing him from the freezing snowdrift is Nurse Annie Wilkes, a solitary soul who lives alone on her farm. She takes him in and proceeds to begin healing his shattered legs and broken arm.
At first Annie seems kind and well meaning if a little spooky. She learns that Paul is the writer of the famous series of “Misery” books and proclaims that she is Paul’s “number one fan”. One day she hurries back from the store delighted at having found the latest Misery offering. He delight soon turns to dismay as she reads that Paul has killed off her heroine in the book and in a frightening turn of personality starts to show how on the edge she really is.
With a minimalist cast of about half a dozen the film is tense, tight and claustrophobic. James Caan is wonderfully understated as the novelist Sheldon and is quite happy to let Kathy Bates (Wilkes) take centre stage. She plays the part brilliantly never going for the easy option of over-playing the role with unnecessary capering or psychotic overacting, somehow there’s always a part of you who sympathises with this sad and lonely creature.
I must also mention Richard Farnsworth as Sheriff Buster McCain, a classic King character if there ever was one.
My only gripe with the film adaptation is that the book contains a brilliant “tales of the unexpected”-like twist in the tale that they missed out of the film. Apart from that it’s a fine piece of nerve wracking horror.
The action starts when best-selling Paul Sheldon author (brilliantly played by James Caan) is rescued from a car crash by ex-nurse Annie Wilkes (even more brilliantly played by Kathy Bates. Which should be good news. However, when Annie - Paul's number one fan - realises that he has killed off her favourite character (Misery), what follows is very bad news. What follows is sheer physical and mental torture which is felt 100% by the viewer on Paul's behalf.
This film, which is basically a two-hander, manages to grip one's attention from the start and hold it to the very end. The most unnerving parts are not necessarily those containing physical violence, and there is very little in the way of conventional horror; what is most frightening is the gradual revelation of Annie's cruelty, and the desperate efforts on the part of her 'patient' to work his way round it.
If you like your horror flavoured with a large dose of psychological trauma and a pinch humour, you'll love being a victim of Misery.
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