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Blu-ray Review: MISERY

GATW Guest Writer

by: GATW Guest Writer
October 28th, 2009

Misery

Movie Rating: 8.5/10
Blu-ray Rating: 8/10

Writer: Stephen King (novel), William Goldman (screenplay)
Director: Rob Reiner
Cast: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Charles Farnsworth, Lauren Bacall
Studio: Castle Rock Entertainment

Who would of thought that the guy who made SPINAL TAP, Rob Reiner, would go on to make arguably the best movie adaptation of any of Stephen King's work, MISERY. Well, at least on the horror side of the writer's work (yes, you have to respect THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, always).

Under the hands of Rob Reiner, working off a screenplay by William Goldman (who also wrote BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, and ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN), MISERY turned out to be an effective and incredibly disturbing movie about the darker side of fandom, in this case when it turns into obsession for an unbalanced individual, and they decide to act rather than just admire their hero from a distance.

MISERY is a horror film with no mythical creatures, but there is definitely a monster in the form of over-the-edge fan Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). Annie is more terrifying than your typical vampire or werewolf because she is so real. There are crazy people in the world, and something like this could happen, which is what is truly scary.

In MISERY, Annie "rescues" her favorite writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan) from a car accident, and then proceeds to hold him captive as the full spectrum of her craziness is revealed.The film becomes a guessing game as to whether or not Paul going to find a way out. The film includes plenty of "oh, no, she's not going to that, is she?" moments along the way.

Unfortunately, the Blu-ray transfer of MISERY is not as impressive as I was hoping. Colors and visuals don't pop as well as you would think with this Blu-ray, but this speaks to how the film was shot, not the transfer itself.

The Blu-ray version of MISERY is disappointing, but it does come with some cool features. There are two commentary tracks, one with Rob Reiner and the one with William Goldman. Both tracks are worth listening to, although there is quite bit of silence on Goldman's track. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that it was Goldman's first time seeing the film in over a decade, and it feels like he was doing more watching than dissecting of MISERY, but when Goldman does comment, it usually is interesting.

There is also a making-of feature, MISERY Loves Company, and several features on various aspects on stalking. The one that works the best with the Blu-ray is the look at Celebrity Stalkers, since it is the most specific to the film. You also get to hear the film's composer's insights on his score for MISERY with Marc Shaimain's Musical MISERY Tour, and you can hear experts diagnose MISERY's psycho with the inventive feature, Diagnosing Annie Wilkes.

MISERY is a far above-average horror film. And while the Blu-ray transfer of the film isn't much of an upgrade over regular DVD quality, the features pick up the slack, and make this Blu-ray worth getting.

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