Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.
Best-selling novelist Paul Sheldon is on his way home from his Colorado hideaway after completing his latest book, when he crashes his car in a freak blizzard. Paul is critically injured, but is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes, Paul's "number one fan", who takes Paul back to her remote house in the mountains (without bothering to tell anybody). Unfortunately for Paul, Annie is also a headcase. When she discovers that Paul has killed off the heroine in her favorite novels, her reaction leaves Paul shattered (literally)... Written by
Andrew Backhouse (andback74)
Although Buster's wife would have missed him after he didn't come back from Annie's house, he never told her where he was going, so it's not unreasonable that for one night, no one went there to look for him. See more »
[teasing Buster about a fake affair as she looks through the new Misery books]
Well, whoever she is, she sure likes to read a lot.
Sheriff John T. 'Buster' McCain:
Virginia, I'm flattered that you think I have that kind of energy. I figure that if I can't find Paul Sheldon, at least I'll find out what he wrote about.
Well, what do you expect to find? A story about a guy who drove his car off a cliff in a snowstorm?
Sheriff John T. 'Buster' McCain:
You see, it's just that kind of sarcasm that's given our marriage real spice.
See more »
The best horror film ever adapted from a Stephen King book
"Misery" accomplishes something which Hitchcock achieved in "Psycho"
but which very few modern horror films achieve: it entertains without
seeming exploitative. Even the movie's most gruesome scene, which ranks
up there as one of the more memorably horrifying moments in all of
cinema, ends with a laugh that somehow doesn't cheapen the
material--maybe because it arises so naturally from the basic situation
which the movie takes very seriously. We're not being urged to find the
violence itself entertaining, as is the case for so many horror films
these days. Rather, the humor is a way of breaking the tension of a
desperate, nightmarish scenario. It is, we suspect, what helps the
protagonist survive the ordeal.
Like many of the greatest thrillers, "Misery" begins with a bizarre set
of coincidences. A bestselling romance novelist named Paul Sheldon
(James Caan) is on his way to the countryside to work on his next book
when a blizzard causes his car to crash, leaving him severely injured
and unable to walk. Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), a retired nurse and
obsessive fan who was following him, takes care of him in her house
without letting him leave or contact anyone. She is upset that he has
recently killed off a central character in his series, and she forces
him to write the new book more to her liking, though in total isolation
from the outside world. His family and friends fear him dead, but the
local sheriff (Richard Farnsworth) is investigating a little more
"Misery" belongs to a unique genre in which a single character is
trapped in a small area and spends the entire story attempting to
escape. I've been fascinated by this type of story ever since I first
read Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum." With his fine
attention to detail, Stephen King has made two notable contributions to
the genre: "Misery," and the unfilmable "Gerald's Game" (where a woman
spends the entire novel handcuffed to a bed in the middle of nowhere).
Everything is topsy-turvy in a story like this. The protagonist must
adapt to a weird new set of rules that put a diabolical twist on normal
routines. To most people, a house is a mundane setting where you wake
up every day and leave without blinking an eye. For a house to become a
prison seems almost unthinkable. Stories like "Misery" have the urgency
of a nightmare, where the thing you fear most is always on the verge of
In particular, this movie has much in common with the 1962 suspense
drama "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" (which I recommend). The basic
structure of the story is the same, involving a disabled person in the
house of an insane woman, who subjects her captive to physical and
psychological tortures while almost everyone on the outside doesn't
even know the victim exists. But in the older film, the motives were
simpler, rooted in sibling jealousy and old wounds. "Misery" brings the
conceit to a new level by making the captive a famous writer and the
kidnapper a crazed fan. The movie makes much of the irony that she's a
pretty good editor. She's not really sadistic or vengeful, as was the
case with the Bette Davis character in "Baby Jane." The tortures she
inflicts on Paul are the natural result of her trying to fit him into
her bizarre little world.
Kathy Bates won an Oscar for her performance, one of only three horror
performances ever to receive that award. (The other two are Fredric
March for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and Anthony Hopkins for "Silence of
the Lambs.") One of the best actresses working today, she's fortunate
not to have been typecast in this sort of role. She later proved
herself quite adept at playing vulnerable women, like the battered wife
in "Dolores Claiborne." She brings to the role of Annie a certain
earthiness that you don't expect in this kind of role. She plays the
character as a woman who doesn't perceive herself as insane, who acts
bubbly and cheerful most of the time and seems to view her sudden mood
shifts as merely a personal weakness. At times, the movie almost comes
off as a demented parody of a normal relationship between a man and
woman living together.
The very best of the Stephen King horror movies, "Misery" is a film
which I count among my favorites even though it is so intense I
sometimes have trouble sitting through the whole thing. With a
screenplay by William Goldman, who has a knack for developing bizarre
torture scenes (the Nazi dentist torture in "Marathon Man," the Machine
in "The Princess Bride"), the movie manages to be scary and classy at
the same time--a rare feat for a modern horror picture. Kathy Bates is
in my nightmares!
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