Oddly enough, Misery is one of the rare few films that it’s differences to the novel are it’s strongest point. Misery is quite long (and very gruesome) book so they had to narrow it down to put in the film. Not to mention they had to dial down the violence (the novel makes the Saw sequels look like Sesame Street.) Just a few differences; Annie’s Memory Lane book is described in a lot more detail, she chops some body-parts off instead of ankle-hobbling (very graphically described), the Sheriff isn’t in the book, instead a young cop stumbles upon Annie (he hears Paul) and she brutally (I mean brutally) murders him, there is a subplot involving Annie’s financial issues and you get to learn more about Misery’s return.
Of course, that is a lot to cram in, in one movie (as well as all the other stuff) so it was wise to leave out parts. Kathy Bates was phenomenal as deranged number 1 fan Annie Wilkes, holding hostage her favourite author. Reading the book, I can’t actually think of an actress better suited for the part (I do think Jessica Lang would’ve turned in a fine performance.) It may not be as disturbing as the novel, but when I watched the movie, I was almost watching in disbelief.
Stephen King expresses fears as a writer extremely well in a novel, a fear non-novelists like myself might not understand. He has written many novels like this before (The Shining, The Dark Half) and that certain element of fear doesn’t get translated as well in the adaption. In the Misery adaption though, it will still make any writer want to quit his film. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
While the film is fully unable to capture Paul Sheldon’s trauma (he is a lot more… dark after the events in the book) it does it’s best job it can possibly can. A for effort, acting, storytelling and thrills. Misery (novel and film) is one of the best thrillers out there.