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Movie Title: Misery [Blu-ray/DVD]
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Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is a very successful writer of romance and thriller novels was driving on a snowy highway and gets into an accident. He survives thanks to a nurse named Annie (Kathy Bates) whom rescued him from danger as she takes him in her house as a guest and she is a big fan of that author who would do anything for him although she’s a bit on the psychothic side as she wants him to write a new novel based on her wish fulfilment and doesn’t want Sheldon to leave.
Twisted and suspenseful horror thriller that faithfully adapts Stephen King’s novel is brillantly directed by Rob Reiner and adapted by William Goldman. Laura Bacall co-stars in this shocker as it has became one of the best movies of it’s kind ever, it’s quite disturbing with memorable moments like the hobbling foot scene you won’t forget as this movie is a solid winner.
This 2-Disc Blu-Ray set has a solid transfer with wonderful audio on the first DVD in high defination and the second disc has a standard def DVD with extras like featurettes, trailers and Audio Commentaries.
When people speak of Misery they often cite the infamous “hobbling” scene. Who wouldn’t? It’s an obscenely violent act that leaves such a visual impact few other dramatic films have. Then they usually mention the source for the twisted tale: the mind of Stephen King. His brain has given us all sorts of classic films. Not all of them have such sadistic moments but many are just as memorable. I would defy you to find one weekend of the year when The Shawshank Redemption isn’t playing on one television station or another. Or find me a fan of Jack Nicholson who doesn’t put his performance in The Shining atop the list of his most memorable performance. While Frank Darabont and Stanley Kubrick made his movies into masterpieces, many of his other stories get filed away as secondary horror films – like Misery, one of his most underappreciated tales ever.
Paul Sheldon (James Caan) has finally laid his protagonist Misery to rest; after countless novels, the heroine has died – and that doesn’t sit too well with his captor Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). After a particularly bad blizzard wherein Paul’s car careened off the road into a ditch, he was rescued by Annie who took him back to her secluded home to heal. Or maybe that was her intention at first. With Annie Wilkes you never can be sure how far she ever intended for this to go. Touting herself as his biggest fan ever (and she probably was) she pushed her affections on the injured Paul whose legs were shattered in the accident and then put in casts courtesy of her efforts. She tended to him, so for awhile he feels indebted to her.
Then the other shoe drops. The crazy shoe.
Her initial introduction features small amounts of that fanaticism that makes the average person open their eyes real big and take a step back. It simmers under the surface until suddenly she snaps. Anger. Raw anger. You take another step back. Paul’s situation begins to worsen, or rather your perception of it does. What makes Misery so triumphantly clever is how well it sneaks up on you. Unlike a typical horror movie which introduces new facets of terror when it’s exhausted others, Misery instead works by gradual reveal. Paul’s danger was there from the moment he met Annie – but only as he spends time bed-ridden does he begin to understand just how bad it was from the start. It simmers until it boils. Each unexpected outburst from Annie comes as a shock and only seems more terrifying when her steadfast stance on anti-profanity creates some of the silliest yet frightening screams you’ve ever heard.
Everything about Misery was masterfully done. The direction of Rob Reiner keeps the film at a steady pace and yet never once falters to build the dread necessary to make Misery an inescapably gripping drama.
Misery looks beautiful. You know why that’s impressive? Because it takes place in a single house, nay, a single room for the most part. Yet, it’s still a beautifully shot film courtesy of Barry Sonnenfeld. Just as the video excels despite the modest setting, the audio has a crisp resonance that makes Kathy Bates’ sound crazier than ever before.
DVD/Blu-ray Extra Features:
It’s packed, absolutely packed. Or at least the DVD included in the set is. The Blu-ray version of the film stands alone on a disc, while the DVD has a commentary by Rob Reiner or by Screenwriter William Goldman. Then you have all the typical featurettes you’d expect and in quite a healthy supply. Humorously, most of the extra features have something to do with stalkers. “Advice for the Stalked”, “Profile of a Stalker”, “Celebrity Stalker” and “Anti-Stalking Laws” all feel like they cane off a disc of special features from a season of Criminal Minds and similarly they’re all quite fascinating even if all too short. Two other featurettes (the only two without “stalk” in their title) present the typical Misery retrospectives you’d come to expect with interview footage of Reiner, Caan and Bates spliced in.
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