Misery

Year: 1990
Directed By: Rob Reiner
Written By: Stephen King (novel) William Goldman (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Has there ever been a scarier movie? These days when I asked people if they’ve seen it; if they say no I just give them a look. I shake my head and explain to them that they just don’t know. If you’ve haven’t seen this movie then you really just don’t know anything about horror. Some might categorize this as a thriller as opposed to horror but I disagree. This movie is one of the most terrifying films you can come across and if you haven’t seen it then this is the perfect time to see it.

This movie almost starts off like a feel good story but takes such a dramatic twist so soon. Kathy Bates in the role of the Florence Nightingale-like Annie Wilkes is one of the most terrifying characters I have ever seen. I have never found another guy who has seen this movie when asked “have you seen Misery?” didn’t have that look of understanding on his face. This is a terrifying movie and it scares men most of all because deep down we, as men, are all afraid of women. Especially the kind of woman who seems so nice at first then gets so crazy, and like all women she has all the power.

To be at the mercy of an Annie Wilkes is the thing that all men fear more than anything. She’s a woman and she’s mad, it doesn’t matter if you did it or not because she is looking at you with that look! Under the scenario we see in this movie she is  not only giving you that look but she has complete control over you. Kathy Bates, with her gentle attitude peppered in the persona of a violent and aggressive woman is just terrifying in a way words cannot describe. She has such an innocent appearance with her turtlenecks and he cross hanging around her neck, but if you look into her eyes you can see the steel. She is as ruthless as she is unpredictable; turn your back on her and there is no telling what’s in store for you.

Something I find really interesting is the fact that Kathy Bates won an Academy Award for this film. I cannot recall any other actor or actress every being nominated for a horror film, much less a low budget Stephen King adaptation. The Green Mile got nominated sure but that was a Tom Hanks movie in the 90s which changes everything. For Kathy Bates to win with this role is a true accomplishment and I think she stands head and shoulders above her peers as an actress.

I’ll never forget how terrified I was the first time I saw this movie when Paul first got out of his room and into Annie Wilkes’ house. I was like 11 maybe and I was so scared of what would happen if he was caught. Annie Wilkes was scarier than Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, and Freddy Kruger all rolled into one. When she starts flipping out on him, casually splashes him with gasoline, and then later throws that paper on his broken legs she trumps all fearsome others. Those guys, I could see even at 11, were just make believe but Annie Wilkes was real. I had seen that look she gets in her eyes in the eyes of my own mother a time or two and was thus predestined to fear it. What would Annie Wilkes possibly do when she found out he was out and about in her home? I was watching this with a group of older guys who were friends of my brother and I remember yelling out during that scene for him to “get back!” One of my brother’s friends turned and gave me a chuckle but no one else moved or made a sound. When I looked at the chuckler I could see in his eyes that he was just as afraid as I was and merely looking for an escape from it.

Kathy Bates had scared him too and to this day we still talk and I occasionally remind him of it. In this film Kathy Bates not only put herself on the map but she defied expectations in every conceivable way. I admire Bates as an actress so much because she is a true talent. Too often in the business of Hollywood a pretty face is chosen over real talent for the sake of making money. I think this is a mistake that not only gives girls an unrealistic idea of what they should be but takes away from the potential of any film. Over time Kathy Bates has proven to be more than simply a woman who can be scary as hell but a true bonafide actress with art and capability to do anything.

James Caan is so easily overshadowed in this movie by his co-star but he is just as good in the movie if truth be told. He fits the part perfectly and carries the role well. I have always been a fan of the man who brought Sonny Corleone to life and I always enjoy a chance to see him on screen. I am vaguely familiar with an unfortunate turn of events in his personal life and that is a shame. I think he is a terrific actor and would much prefer to always see him on top as a successful man in his sunset years.

As I mentioned in the intro, this movie is classified as a thriller by some but I challenge anybody to sit through this movie and back that up. If you sit through this movie and at the end claim to be thrilled as opposed to horrified I will call you a liar. This movie is scary plain and simple and it takes place in a scenario that could so easily really happen to someone. This book was written by Stephen King specifically after his prior book was criticized for being too away from his own genre. King is capable of writing anything but people know him most for horror. This movie is a horror film and I won’t accept any other genre because a movie so scary can only be classified in one way.

I bought this movie specifically for this month of horror that we do on the blog and I chose it specifically to be the first of the movies to be published because it sets the tone right. This is a scary movie with performances that are worth seeing. If you are looking for something this Halloween that will keep you on the edge of your seat and make you fear the nice looking person you pass on the street but don’t really know then this is the one to see. I think it is a great movie and undoubtedly a scary horror film.

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