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. – ShoutFactory.com
It has been quite a while since the last time I watched Misery. So much so that I couldn’t remember how it ended. This is one of those King stories that straddles the line between horror and drama/thriller. It’s not a slasher, it’s not a creature feature, but it does go to some uncomfortable places. It is horrific, what happens to James Caan’s character Paul, but this isn’t your standard blood and guts fare. Misery is more psychological thriller, and it excels at being so. The movie wastes no time in showing the crazy side of Kathy Bates Annie. She flies off the handle at the most mundane things. Misery is one of the King novels that I’ve never read, so I can’t attest to the accuracy in adaptation, but I can say that this is a compelling story that grows more and more relenting as time passes.
Misery features a cast of almost exclusively two people, in a single location. This is hard to pull off in an effective way, but director Rob Reiner manages to do quite well. Also to credit are the performances from both James Caan as well as Kathy Bates. The two of them have quite a bit of chemistry on screen together, even as the story becomes darker and darker, and the two characters become at odds. When Paul first realizes that Annie is batshit insane, his reaction is priceless, and his shock only grows as she descends further into darkness. The supporting cast all do fantastic jobs as well. Richard Farnsworth as Sheriff Buster in particular turns in quite an endearing “Aw shucks” performance, and his back and forth with his wife and Depute Virginia, played by Frances Sternhagen makes for a much needed comedic relief from the ever-building tension. After all this time, Misery manages to maintain every bit of its relevance and its sting.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of Misery is a decent upgrade from the previous Blu-ray released by MGM. It features a 4K restoration from original film elements, and looks fantastic. It’s an AVC-encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1. There is grain, though quite a bit light, but I suspect that’s just what the film element provides. I saw no evidence of excessive digital scrubbing. The release features two different audio tracks, both DTS-HD MA, with a 2.0 track, and a 5.1 track. I can’t say that much came through the back channels, but the clarity is crystal. The extras package is a mixture of both new and old, featuring two new retrospective documentaries/interviews with director Rob Reiner, and Effects Artist Greg Nicotero. Other extras include audio commentaries, classic featurettes and trailers. A full listing of extras can be found below. Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition release of Misery is now available, and can be purchased by visiting the Shout! Factory website.
- 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