In one of the biggest coups at this year’s SXSW, Netflix acquired the distribution rights to Mike Flanagan’s Hush. The indie horror-thriller has seen resounding success among fans of the genre thanks to its availability on the platform, pushing the Oculus director even further into the spotlight as one of the premiere voices of modern horror, earning praise from none other than horror master Stephen King himself.
Fueled in part by the success of Hush, Netflix has now shown interest in Flanagan’s long-rumored adaptation of King’s Gerald’s Game. The film had been previously announced in 2014, shortly after Oculus was released, but difficulties in finding distribution led to the temporary shelving of the project while Flanagan worked on Hush. The acclaim of that movie has afforded the director more clout with which to make his next movie, and he’s determined to bring it to life one way or the other.
In an interview with Rue Morgue (via Blastr), Flanagan discussed the project and the difficulties of getting it off the ground, including a lack of studio interest, as well as why Netflix is the perfect place for the movie to land. According to the director:
“I view Hush, actually, as my most successful movie. All of Netflix’s numbers are proprietary, so I don’t get to look at them, but the way I’ve heard people talking, it’s been viewed an amazing number of times, and the reception has been very, very positive. Coincidentally, Stephen King watched Hush at home on Netflix and tweeted about it, which kind of blew my mind. And that got us talking about Gerald’s Game again.”
As far as the adaptation is concerned, King’s novel does present some narrative difficulties that make it hard to translate to film. The novel follows a woman who accidentally causes the death of her husband after she’s been handcuffed to the bed in the couple’s secluded lake house. Over the course of the novel, she slowly comes to the realization that help is not on the way and begins to go crazy while a supernatural entity may or may not be staring at her from the corner. Much of the story’s action takes place in the woman’s head, creating a non-linear tale that’s one of King’s more frightening works.
After the success of Hush, Netflix feels like the perfect place for this story to land. Given how the company has handled original content in recent years, it is clear the streaming giant isn't afraid to take risks on material like this. Flanagan addressed some of the freedoms that working with the company allows as a filmmaker, and why he feels Netflix is a great format for Gerald’s Game.
“Netflix, because of how well Hush has done, said, ‘We’re really interested in this, and we’d like to do it the way you want to do it.’ And that eliminated the pressure of having to test-screen the movie and define the demographic that’s going to watch it—all of that stuff that typically comes into the conversation when you’re trying to figure out how to market a film for a wide theatrical release. It just cleared the table, so that I can make the movie I want to make. I’m hoping very much that we can get that movie up on its feet soon.”
The three-way marriage between Flanagan, King, and Netflix sounds like it just might be a dream come true for horror fans. The platform’s business model is one that allows for creativity in production, and non-traditional films often find audiences on the streaming service even when theatrical runs weren't successful. Given the success that Netflix and Flanagan had with Hush, the time feels right for Gerald’s Game to have its chance to play.
Screen Rant will keep you posted on Gerald's Game news as it develops.