***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
Misery - 4 out of 5
I've never been the biggest fan of many of Stephen King's horror stories because they often get wayyyy too crazy towards the end for me to take seriously (think about the end of It). I am, however, a big fan of his dramas like Stand By Me, Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy some of his horror stories--especially ones that are able to stay grounded--and this movie is by far one of his best stories and one of the best examples of his work being adapted.
The story is simple: A crazed fan of a writer holds the man hostage and becomes increasingly crazier before building towards violence and, ultimately, a suicide pact. That, my friends, is a recipe for horror and director Rob Reiner does an absolutely fantastic job of bringing it to the screen. There is a reason this movie is a classic and that reason is because its just that good. Tight close ups really puts the viewer into victim Paul Sheldon's shoes and really creates a claustrophobic feel to really pump up the anxiety levels. But the creativity doesn't stop behind the camera.
Playing the writer, James Caan really shines as we see him evolve from being a graceful survivor to a frightened victim and then, ultimately, a determined man out to get revenge on his captor and save his skin. The progression is so natural and balances perfectly with Kathy Bates playing the insane Annie Wilkes. As a viewer, I was unable to look away from the screen when she would appear in a scene just to watch her go from one extreme to the next--a loving, shy nurse out to help her favorite author back to health then, with a snap of a finger, a psychotic fan out for blood. These two, being nearly the only two characters in the film, are so good, it was no wonder that James Caan was nominated for Best Actor and Bates won for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
While this movie is never flat out scary to the point it makes you jump out of your chair, it does raise the heart-rate and keep the viewer on the edge as you watch the horrors that Sheldon is put through. What makes this film even more special is the near complete lack of gore. The movie is able to be frightening without grossing out its audience which, sadly, many people confuse for being true fear when watching a scary film. That alone is testament to how good this movie is. And let's not forget the iconic hobbling scene...oh, I have to sit down after that scene as my ability to walk is stolen from me.
20 years later, this movie is still scarier than most horror films regurgitated onto the screen nowadays.