Stephen King is one of the most respected and prolific novelists working today. He is best known for thriller stories. In a previous review for Halloween Horror, “Carrie,” which was based on one of his books, was reviewed. Today’s review is of another movie based on his work: “Misery.” In this film, the evil has nothing to do with the supernatural, but with the evil that can surface within a person.
"Misery" was released in 1990, and it stars James Caan as Paul Sheldon, a novelist whose car crashes in a snow storm. He is rescued by Annie Wilkes, a nurse played by Kathy Bates. When Paul first meets Annie, she seems friendly and is a very big fan of his work. At first, he considers himself lucky because, if he’s going to be confined in a snow storm while injured, who better to be with than a no-nonsense nurse? But Annie isn’t exactly Florence Nightingale. As he gets to know her more, he finds that she is very disturbed and determined to keep him under her control. Because of his injuries, he cannot leave on his own.
Kathy Bates won an Academy Award for her performance in the film. She deserved to win as she creates a memorable villain. Annie is scary because, as a fan, she knows a lot about Paul. She knows all his books, as well as a lot about his personal life. James Caan is equally good playing the writer who is trapped in her house. A lot of the film focuses only on these two characters as they are in Annie’s house. These scenes are effective because the actors are so good.
“Misery” is not quite a perfect film. The ending, while suspenseful and well filmed, is predictable and rather derivative. Fans of the genre will not be surprised.
Aside from this, “Misery” is still a very effective thriller. It is easily one of the best films based on the work of Stephen King.