This was my first time watching Misery. I know I’m late to the party but it was the release of the second season of Castle Rock that finally had me watch it in full. Unfortunately, I had seen THE infamous scene many times, but I didn’t really know what the story was. In fact I didn’t know people liked the film at all. I knew it was scary and an Oscar was won, but it’s a Stephen King adaptation, and aren’t most of those bad? Luckily I was wrong.
One of the best elements about the film, to me, is that the story begins almost immediately. The set up is done through the credits so when those are over, our protagonist is already in trouble. That protagonist is Paul Sheldon (James Caan) and he’s a writer who just finished a new book. We see him type the final page in his Colorado mountaintop hotel room, celebrate, and drive off in a snowstorm trying to make it back to his publicist in New York City. He’s unable to handle the weather and drives his car off the side of the road. We see another individual pull him from the wreckage and walk off in the snowstorm with Paul over their shoulder.
This opening is scary. This opening is also funny as hell. Driving in the snow is a challenge and living in an area where you deal with it often must not be fun. However, it does help you learn how to drive in the snow. I’m unsure if this is because he’s from the city but Paul Sheldon has no fucking clue how to drive in the snow. As he leaves his CO hotel, on his way to NYC, he is FLYING down a steep, already snow-covered road. Maybe he’s doing this cause he’s so excited from finishing his book? Maybe he doesn’t know he has the option of making his car drive at a slower speed? Who knows. I like to think that it has something to do with his rituals when he finishes writing a new book. We see a few of his post book rituals in the hotel room. He drinks a glass of Dom Perignon and has one cigarette. But I like to think that’s just the opening. He’s actually racing home to NY for some week-long sex bender and he’s ready to get started! But the possibilities are endless.
The car crash is about the first five minutes of the film. The rest is a thriller about Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), nursing her favorite writer back to health. His “number 1 fan.” Unfortunately she’s not mentally stable and Paul is unable to walk. The film explores Annie’s mental health as Paul tries his best to make it back to the real world and out of Annie’s home.
I would recommend this film to anyone. I wish I had seen it at a much younger age as I think it would have been even scarier but there was plenty of exciting moments throughout the whole film. There’s even a scene more surprising than the one with the sledgehammer.
Check it out!