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The Gift (2015)

the-gift-2015-poster

Robyn thinks that her life will be perfect when she moves with her husband to his home town. But secrets threaten to surface and lies come undone when someone from his past tries to make friends and leave them gifts. 

Genre: Thriller

Starring: Jason Bateman, Joel Edgerton, Rebecca Hall

Directed: Joel Edgerton

Writer: Joel Edgerton

I really liked this film. There’s a lot of thrillers around lately (and horrors, I’m looking at you, Netflix) that fail to deliver anything. Poor plots, bad characterisation, jump scares, terrible acting… this film feels like a return to better, simpler films that keep you guessing.

The casting works perfectly, because Jason Bateman (Simon) really seems like a nice guy, Rebecca Hall (Robyn) seems kind of fragile and Joel Edgerton (Gordo) seems kind of odd and hapless. And yet none of these characters are what they seem, each one has secrets and is keeping things to themselves.

This film builds tension through these characters slow unravelling. When Gordo first turns up at the house, you know that it’s a bit off, but also that there’s nothing really wrong with his behaviour either. As he escalates slowly, bringing gifts, we also start to see more of Simon’s meanness and start to wonder, along with Robyn. It’s cleverly done and feels more psychological than theatrical, which makes it so entertaining. I really enjoyed watching it.

The film is fairly simple in itself, and is a debut from Joel Edgerton, who wrote it, and directs and stars in it. It works really well, and I think that he’s someone whose films will do really well in future. Some other reviewers have said that it’s predictable, but I certainly didn’t find that to be the case.

I think that the films only downfall might be that the marketing sells it as a horror, from the producers of films like Sinister and Insidious (Blumhouse). But this film isn’t like either of those, which means that it might not get the audience it deserves.

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