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Revisiting 1990: Misery

September 26, 2010

“I am your number one fan.”

Considered For: Top 5, Top Horror Film

Plot: Successful author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) traps himself in his car after getting in an accident during a blizzard. He is saved when Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) pulls him out and lets him recover in her home. As Sheldon lies crippled in a bed, Annie slowly starts to unravel and show her true colors, especially after she discovers that Paul plans to kill off his famed heroine Misery in his latest novel, and the author realizes that his life might be in danger.

I can’t think of a Stephen King adaptation I like more than Misery, but that is because none of those films had a performance as strong as Kathy Bates was in this movie. Kathy Bates is this movie. Outside of James Caan, who is pretty limited considering he’s confined to a bed for most of the film, and the sheriff and his wife, there aren’t many characters in Misery to speak of, so Bates really had a lot riding on her performance and she carries that burden like a badge of honor. Deserving of an easy Oscar win, Bates channels her inner psychopath as her character Annie Wilkes goes from happy-go-lucky hick to deranged, violent batterer in sheer seconds. I saw this movie when I was a kid and the only thing I remembered about it was Wilkes taking a sledgehammer to Sheldon’s legs, a testament to how iconic and powerful that scene was. This movie is the epitome of suspense and will have you on edge the whole time. I’m considering it for my top horror movie of 1990, but I’m not really sure if fits my definition of a horror movie. I’d place Misery in the suspense/thriller category and it’s a top notch effort. Highly recommended and a must see for Kathy Bates going completely insane.

Grade: B+
Viewings: 2
Replay Value: Worth revisiting every several years or so.
Sequel Potential: None
Oscars?: A win for Bates
Nudity?: None

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