For the uninitiated, Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is a famous author, on his way to drop off his latest manuscript (the last in a trilogy) to his agent when he is in a car crash, in the woods, after a snowstorm. He wakes up in the cozy comforts of a bed, with lots of pain. Where the hell is he? Meet Annie Wilkes (Bates), Paul Sheldon's biggest fan. She was a nurse and is taking care of him. She provides him with strong pills for the pain and his discovered the latest manuscript. When she learns he's going to kill the protagonist at the end of the series, she's livid and fake curses at him because she doesn't use any profanity. Then we really meet who Annie is when she threatens him: re-write this book or else. He is in her home and no one knows where he is after all. And this is only the first act of the movie.
To reveal much else only spoils it for those interested in watching this film. For a King fan, I was impressed with the clipped pacing of the film. Not only is it almost precisely like the novel, but the film comes alive on the screen, especially when Kathy Bates and James Caan spar on the screen. I was impressed with how well exposition was executed, considering there are huge chunks that the readers learn about Wilkes' past via Paul combing through articles strewn about in her place.
What Annie eventually does to Paul was much more brutal in the novel than the movie, which I wasn't surprised to see. Film is a different medium and Stephen King is just a dark and twisted guy. He constantly reveals the monstrous qualities that live in mankind with his stories, without the supernatural.
For great acting and just a solid thriller, this film will deliver. King fans will enjoy as well, even without the exactness of the adaptation from the book.