Film Review: The Gift

What’s In The Box?

If you are an avid follower of my own personal film reviews on this blog, you may have latched on to the notion that my hatred of Blumhouse Productions stems from the fact that such a company seem to be the physical form of Satan himself in an attempt to not only ridicule and dispose of all the goodness that decent horror films bring, but to destroy them completely, with tosh including the never-ending Paranormal Activity and Insidious series just a few examples of why Blumhouse were on my hit-list of companies to dissolve as soon as possible. What a crossroads I seem to have hit however this year with not only the absolute masterful Whiplash being released under such a company, but now The Gift, a film that so unexpectedly diverts from all the solemn traits of a Blumhouse production that maybe, just maybe, such a company is finally changing for the better, with their latest release being a Hitchcokian feast of chills and thrills from start to finish.

Written, directed, and starring Joel Edgerton, The Gift focuses on married couple Simon (Jason Bateman, Arrested Development) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall, Iron Man 3) who after moving into their luxurious new home in Simon’s hometown of California, begin to receive gifts from newly acquainted friend Gordo (Edgerton) whom Simon knew from school. When the number and type of gifts begin to be questioned, Simon breaks the friendship off, much to the displeasure of Gordo who subsequently sends a letter to their home regarding his hope in letting “bygones be bygones”, much to the confusion of both Robyn and Simon. When Simon seems to be letting off less than he actually knows, Robyn seeks to find the truth behind Gordo’s murky past, yet such discoveries lead to a path much different to what she originally believed about both Gordo and husband Simon. First off, the now famous bore-fests that have come to embrace Blumhouse “horrors” is strictly, and gracefully, absent from The Gift, with the cliched “cattle prod cinema” being replaced with atmosphere, darkness, and a sense of threat which has been sorely missing from both horrors and thrillers over recent history. Scenes in which silence is the key function, overclouded with perpetual darkness, were heart-wrenching to say the least, resulting in the jump scenes actually being wholly effective and more importantly, deserved.

One of the most striking things for me about The Gift for me however, was how multi-layered it was, with themes of loneliness, revenge, heartbreak, and regret all being touched upon in its’ perfectly weighted runtime of 110 minutes wherein our feelings regarding who is to blame and who is the true victim constantly changing, even within the films’ shocking conclusion in which its’ ambiguous nature leaves the audience to make up their own minds, something of which I wholeheartedly salute. Adding to the films’ brilliance is the acting in which our main three characters are all brought to screen in a superb fashion, particularly mastermind Edgerton who forces you to hate him one minute and then subsequently sympathise with him the next with an on-screen threat reminiscent of Kevin Spacey’s Jon Doe in Seven. So in conclusion, here I am eating a huge slice of humble pie and wondering how on earth two of the best films of the year in Whiplash and The Gift are now firmly locked in the filmography of Blumhouse. But wait, its’ Sinister 2 next. Just a blip then? We shall see.

Overall Score: 9/10


Posted on 13/08/2015, in Film & TV, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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