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The Gift review: ‘A nifty, twisty thriller…’

The Gift review: A tense and twisting thriller that will make you think twice about reconnecting with that peculiar schoolmate.

The Gift review

The Gift review

Blumhouse Productions are certainly a production company that get around. This year alone they have had a hand in several titles including WhiplashUnfriendedInsidious Chapter 3 and the forthcoming Sinister 2. Given the box office takings of all of the previously mentioned movies it’s clear that the company know a sound investment when they see one and The Gift seems like another sure thing.

Those familiar with Blumhouse’s usual pick of films (horror) will, after seeing the trailer, be expecting the usual run-of-the-mill fright bonanza, however this is not what The Gift  is about at all. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have its share of scares thanks to some devious direction and editing, but The Gift is a much more grounded and terse affair. Directed by Joel Edgerton, star of Exodus: Gods and Kings and WarriorThe Gift is a nifty, twisty thriller that keeps the viewer guessing the whole way through.

The premise of the film is simple – two old acquaintances with a ambitious history meet after several years and must either confront the past or move on. This being a movie it’s not quite as simple as that and the lines constantly blur to the point where you aren’t quite sure which character to side with. Our ‘hero’ Simon for instance morphs as the plot progresses and we get glimpses that he might not be quite as likeable as we first thought. Similarly, Gordo ‘the weirdo’ manages to make himself both sinister and utterly harmless all at once.

The Gift review

The Gift review

The Gift has the type of story and cast size that would lend itself easily to a staged environment though Edgerton instead chose the medium of film. Capitalising on the small setting Edgerton has worked to make everything feel intimate and claustrophobic.

Because of it’s small pool of characters this is a story that will sink or swim depending on skills of its lead cast. Luckily for Edgerton, there are solid performances from the three central characters, himself included. It is a little hard at first to get past Jason Bateman‘s long standing comedic career, but eventually you get used to it. Rebecca Hall works hard to shed the stigmata of last year’s awful Transcendence, and pulls it off; Robyn isn’t quite the typical victim wife and shows a savviness and strength that is lacking in many of her cinematic counterparts.

With The Gift, Joel Edgerton has managed to craft a tense and twisting thriller.  The Gift is a tale that will provoke discussions after viewing about which character has the moral high ground, who is right and who is wrong? It’ll also make you think twice about reconnecting with that peculiar schoolmate.

The Gift review by Kat Hughes, August 2015.

The Gift will be received into UK cinemas on Friday 7th August. 

Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


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