The Gift: Creepy Suspense at Its Best
With Halloween right around the corner, I thought it only fitting to review something a little creepier than normal. The Gift is just that—creepy. It won’t make you jump out of your seat much, but it will leave you with an eerie feeling that sticks with you even after the credits have rolled.
It begins with Simon and Robyn (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) viewing a house they might purchase in sunny California. They are ready to start a new life in a beautiful new home, with a successful career for him and the hopes to start a family. While shopping for furniture one day they run into Gordo, an old high school acquaintance of Simon. From the get-go, something feels off about the man, and his clingy, Cable Guy-esque behavior is pitiable to Rebecca and downright repulsing to Simon.
Gordo begins to leave increasingly extravagant housewarming gifts for them, ranging from a bottle of window cleaner to koi carp, and has a habit of showing up out of the blue, coincidentally whenever Simon isn’t home. Simon tries his best to push Gordo out of their lives, first by a lack of interest and then a harsh talk, but Gordo is not so easily gotten rid of. You soon realize there’s more to the story that neither Simon nor Gordo will reveal. As Simon shows increasing anger and frustration with Gordo’s presence, we, like Rebecca, begin questioning just who the good guy is and who is the bad.
The subtleties are what make this movie great. For instance, in the furniture store scene you can actually spot Gordo in the background staring at them through the window (he does this a lot in the movie) even before his character is introduced. Every line and action seems deliberate, and upon looking back you realize that the ending, although completely surprising, was completely inevitable in hindsight.
This movie also boasts some poignant and believable performances, including a surprising serious role for Jason Bateman, known mainly for his comedic roles. He does a great job of staying right on the borderline between protagonist and antagonist, and fuels much of the confusion and mystery that grows throughout the film. Gordo is actually played by the director, Joel Edgerton, who mirrors Simon’s duplicitous character. Rebecca Hall does a great job being the innocent wife stuck in between, although she too has a shady past that we must weave into the mix—drugs and depression make us wonder how much is in her mind and how much is real.
The ending of The Gift is strong and the perfect culmination of everything that happened throughout. You will be at once satisfied, in shock, and thoroughly creeped out by this movie. If you want to get some serious heebie-jeebies this Halloween, give yourself The Gift.
You can watch The Gift on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch. 100) from October 27th, 2015 to February 26th.