Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
Every once in a while I get a disc in to review that I just want to go: come on, it’s this, you know it’s awesome, get it. This release is like that. Come on, it’s Misery and it’s from Scream Factory; that’s what I call a known quantity. Misery is one of the best Stephen King movies ever, and Scream Factory continually do amazing releases. So yeah, look up ‘no brainer’ in a dictionary and you’ll see this Blu-ray staring back at you. But hey, if you need a little more, that’s why I’m here. So come on, be careful on those snowy roads, and let’s jump into Misery.
James Cann plays an author (I know, in a Stephen King story, imagine that!) named Paul, writer of schmaltzy romance novels staring a lady named Misery. In his last Misery novel he killed off his main character because he wants to do more serious writing, but while driving on a snowy road he has a horrendous accident. Luckily he is saved by a large, strong woman with medical knowledge. Unfortunately she is also psychotic. She ties Paul to a bed and decides to keep him because she’s “his number one fan.” Worse yet (yes, it can always get worse) she is a HUGE fan of the Misery character and she’s really not happy that Paul killed her off. So through various means she convinces the author to resurrect the dead character, but Paul is keenly too aware that when he’s done writing the new book, he’s dead.
Misery could be a stage play. It’s largely two people and one room and that’s it. And one of those two people is tied to a bed for most of it. But it’s the psychological game of cat and mouse the captive and the captor play with each other that makes this movie so damn good. Never before, or since, have actors James Caan and Kathy Bates been this good. This is also directed incredibly well by Rob Reiner; in my book it’s his best film, and this is the guy that gave us Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men, and more, so that’s saying something. It also has one of the most brutal and gasp-inducing moments ever in film. Ever! Yeah you know the one. In tone, style, and execution, this movie is amazing, but of course you knew that. Everyone has seen Misery, right?
On to the extras Scream Factory put on this new Blu-ray release. First and foremost there is an audio commentary with director Rob Reiner and another commentary track with William Goldman, who wrote the screenplay for this movie. There is an interview with director Reiner that’s 37 minutes long and there is an interview with special makeup effects artist Greg Nicotero that’s 26 minutes long. Then there are a bunch of featurettes: one on the Stephen King novel that runs 30 minutes long, one about the music in the movie that’s over 14 minutes, one about the madness of Annie Wilkes that’s nearly nine minutes, some advice for victims of stalkers that runs five minutes, a profile of those who stalk (Hmm, I’m sensing a theme here) that’s six minutes, a look at celebrity stalkers that runs for five minutes, and lastly there’s one on anti-stalking laws that’s just over two minutes. Good, cheerful stuff, there. Last but not least there is the theatrical trailer.
Misery is a great movie, a must-have for any serious cinephile. It’s one of Stephen King’s best adaptations, one of director Rob Reiner’s best films, one of actors’ James Caan and Kathy Bates best performances. In all ways it is near perfection and for all those reasons, and for many more, this great new Blu-ray of Misery I highly recommend.