There are a fair amount of scares in The Gift, but the most shocking part of the motion picture isn’t the unexpected appearance of a inexplicable package or a crazy guy popping out on the shadows; it’s that the film’s resident scary guy is gradually revealed as a male with a broken center and genuine inner thoughts. When he’s launched, Gordo (Joel Edgerton) gives off a good unsettling vibe. His conversations are awkward and stilted; his garments make him look like a period of time traveler from the early ’90s. But the more time The Gift spends with him the less threatening he or she appears — or at least the more threatening his / her supposed victims grow to be.
Those victims are Simon (Jenny Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall), some sort of married couple freshly moved from Chicago to help Southern California. They’re out there shopping for home goods to be able to fill out their completely new mid-century modern house from the Hollywood Hills while Gordo spots Simon, an old high-school classmate, as well as reintroduces himself. They alternate a few pleasantries, take Gordo’s phone number, and go their separate ways. But then gifts start arriving at Simon and Robyn’ersus, and when the couple is slow to thank Gordo intended for his thoughtfulness, he stops by for just a visit. Despite Simon’s barely masked contempt for his previous buddy, who he / she derisively (but accurately) phone calls a weirdo, clingy Gordo won’t leave them alone.
The astute terror fan might think they will anticipate what occurs next; likely a thing in the vein of Fatal Attraction or One Hour or so Photo, where a deranged sociopath infiltrates a happy household and slowly tears it apart as a result of manipulation and hatred. But The Gift, which was written along with directed by Edgerton, consistently subverts viewers’ expectations. After a formulaic intro, it suddenly veers off of the familiar track, eschewing commonest slasher stuff to peel back the psychological and emotional layers on each one of the main characters, nothing of whom are completely who they initially appear to be. Ironically, this further The Gift gets through traditional (and amazing) horror-movie tropes the more interesting (and also exciting) it gets. The Gift’s story might be the most pleasantly unpredictable of the 2015 summer video season.
A busy acting professional (and occasional movie writer of similarly garbled thrillers of marital discord such as The Square and Wish You Were Here) Edgerton proves themselves a smart and ready director, particularly of actors. The Gift is Hall’s work best in years, and a notably interesting use of Bateman, who is smarmy comedic persona establishes an effective and unnerving cover for Simon’s sinister side.
Edgerton’s camerawork and editing choices aren’capital t flashy, but the Great Gatsby and Exodus: Gods as well as Kings star already understands how to exhibit ideas with simple visual cues. Simon as well as Robyn’s house, for instance, with its floor-to-ceiling windows not simply serves as an ideal environment for a horror flick about the terrifying issues that lurk in the dark, their glass walls speaks to the movie’s themes or templates of transparency as well as secrecy in a troubled marital life.
The Gift’s final behave delivers yet another plot shock, though certainly not a welcome one particular. After spending most it’s middle third burrowing deeply into the characters and their respective pasts, the particular film pulls back again, and winds up gratifying many of the surface business meetings of the genre the idea had previously upended. Still, there’s enough below to recommend, each as a disturbing crisis about human nature and as a calling card for Edgerton, who could have a shiny directorial career ahead of him if he can retain delivering movies in which zig when audiences expect them to zag. For cinephiles, very little surprises like these work most effectively gift of all.