“Novelist Paul Sheldon doesn’t remember the blinding blizzard that sent his car spinning off the road. He doesn’t remember being nursed back from unconsciousness. But he will never forget Annie Wilkes.
James Caan and Academy Award® winner* Kathy Bates star in the bone-shattering thriller Misery, adapted from the novel by Stephen King. As Paul (Caan) recuperates from his injuries in the secluded cabin of his benefactor Annie (Bates), he begins to discover that beneath the seemingly kind and naive exterior of his self-described “number one fan” lurks a mind that is cunning, unhinged, and bent on keeping her favorite writer as her personal prisoner for the rest of his “cock-a-doodie” life … and Sheldon must engage his savior-turned-captor in a battle of wills that will push them both to the brink.
Adapted by two-time Oscar®-winning** screenwriter William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner (Stand By Me, The Princess Bride), Misery is considered by critics and fans (number ones and others) to be among the greatest horror-thrillers of all-time. Revisit this classic tonight with your friends … after all, Misery loves company.”
Misery is one of those films that even if you haven’t seen it, you feel like you have, since it has become a staple of horror and Stephen King adaptations. Such was the case for myself. I knew so much about the film and had heard so much about it growing up, I swore up and down I had seen it long ago. Well, if you truly have seen the film, the imagery in it is so shocking, it sears into your memory for all time. It didn’t take long to figure out that in fact I had not seen this before, which is embarrassing to say for someone who immensely enjoys both horror films and Stephen King.
One of its biggest appeals is how effective the horror is without relying on the traditional type of methods used to create a sense of dread or fear. Rob Reiner captures this type of blend of horror/thriller with masterful artistry, which is understandably difficult when your protagonist is stuck in a bed for the entire film. Although there aren’t many genuinely shocking and gore-filled scenes, the ones that are included in the film sear themselves into your memory.
What drives the entire film, however, is definitely the performance of Kathy Bates, in which she deservedly took home an Oscar for. Her portrayal of Annie Wilkes is terrifying in a psychotic way, and if you are familiar with some other of Stephen King’s antagonists in his stories, they are brilliantly written, frightening characters that have such depth to them. James Caan has perhaps one of the toughest jobs of all, leading the film while being bed-ridden. Interestingly, the studio reached out to about twelve other big named actors who turned it down due to the lack of activity the role called for. What James Caan succeeded in doing with the role is causing the viewer to feel incapacitated along with him. We feel the tension and nervousness as he desperately tries to think of a way out of the situation given his limitations.
Misery is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen 1.85:1. The transfer is a new 4k restoration from the original film elements, and this looks absolutely fantastic. Color levels are well balanced, with a bit of a muted, washed-out tone blanketed by a bright and blinding snowfall. Grain is maintained at the original intended level, with no major defects noticed in the transfer.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The track sounds very good, and although the majority of the sound will be coming through the center channel, we still get some good use out of the surrounds in certain scenes, and an amazing soundtrack that works perfectly with the film.
There are some great extras on the disc, with some new ones featured by Scream Factory. You’re going to see:
- NEW 4K Restoration From The Original Film Elements
- NEW Interview With Director Rob Reiner
- NEW Interview With Special Makeup Effects Artist Greg Nicotero
- Audio Commentary With Rob Reiner
- Audio Commentary With Screenwriter William Goldman
- “Misery Loves Company” Featurette
- “Marc Shaiman’s Musical MiseryTour” Featurette
- “Diagnosing Annie Wilkes” Featurette
- “Advice For The Stalked” Featurette
- “Profile Of A Stalker” Featurette
- “Celebrity Stalkers” Featurette
- “Anti-Stalking Laws” Featurette
Misery has held up almost two decades later as a genuinely horrific film that only could come from the mind of Stephen King. Scream Factory has given this an amazing treatment, and any fan, old or new, will want to pick this up as soon as they can!