A famous author is saved from a car crash by his number one fan, who quickly shows her true colors as a crazed psychopath who worships him.
Directed by Rob Reiner
Written by William Goldman
Starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth,
Lauren Bacall, Frances Sternhagen
Based on the novel by Stephen King
Oscar Wins - Best Actress (Kathy Bates)
A case can be made for Misery being the most well-adapted of Stephen King's novels. It's the perfect amount of unsettling and eerie, and the human evil of Annie Wilkes is far scarier than Pennywise the Clown or Randall Flagg. I think that's what's so palpable about this one. It could happen. It's every celebrity's nightmare. The psycho stalker getting their mitts in you. Leave it to Stephen King to take that fear and ratchet it up to eleven. This film adaptation takes the flawless script by William Goldman, the impeccable direction of Rob Reiner, and the unforgettable performances of James Caan and Kathy Bates, mixes them all together, and gives audiences a terrifying film they won't soon forget.
Caan plays Paul Sheldon, a famous author who just finished his new novel and gets in a car crash in the mountains. He is rescued by Annie Wilkes (Bates), his biggest fan who nurses him back to health, but has a screw loose upstairs. There's something off about her. For starters, she never called the hospital, so nobody knows he's there. Then, when she reads his new book and finds out he's killed the main character, she goes apeshit and demands he write a new book to bring her back or else Annie will kill him. It's a slow burn with a lot of surprises along the way, particularly the infamous hobbling sequence that still makes me squirm.
Misery is one of my favorite King novels and this film does it absolute justice from beginning to end. The ending is so satisfying and everything leading up to it will have you cheering or jeering. Just be certain that you will find yourself invested. Annie Wilkes remains one of King's scariest creations because of how real and simple she is. She's your biggest fan. Just don't cross her.