After seeing the trailer for The Gift, I thought that I was going to be watching the creepiest film of the year. I was half-right. Because this film is half-creepy.
Rebecca Hall and Jason Bateman play Simon and Robyn Callum, a couple who’ve moved to a new city for Simon’s new job. Whilst moving in and buying decorations, they bump into Gordo (played by Joel Edgerton), an old “friend” who used to go to the same school as Simon. After they bump into each other Gordo starts to intrude on the lives of Simon and Robyn. Telling you more would result in spoilers.
The Gift‘s genre is unspecific. The first half of the film builds up into an amazing thriller, then it takes a turn at becoming a drama (a people yelling at each other drama) and changes back into a thriller for the final five minutes.
Although despite the genre jumps, The Gift does excel in it’s individual scenes. The thriller parts are exceedingly creepy and suspenseful. Most modern horror films tend to just be a parade of jump-scares whereas The Gift keeps your mind running down a psychological track. And the drama parts were well acted and well directed.
Jason Bateman shows an acting side that we’ve never seen before. He doesn’t make one joke in the whole film and he’s so serious that you don’t want to laugh at him. Rebecca Hall plays her character very well however the part itself is pretty boring.
From the first moment you see Joel Edgerton’s character you start to think “Is he watching them?”. Gordo is so creepy in his subtlety. He doesn’t breathe heavily at the sight of people, he just has this psycho aura surrounding him.
The Gift aims for such high marks in being a thriller and a drama and excels in both but at the cost of keeping to a straight genre. It is an excellent and refreshing thriller that we need in this age of repetitive horror films.
With good acting, great directing and a terrifying script (despite it’s flaws) it keeps it’s status as a psychological thriller. Don’t let anything stop you from watching The Gift unless you enjoy happy films and/or most modern generic horrors.
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