Horror movies are very uninteresting to me. A serial killer murdering a bunch of teens? Some jump scares will do the trick, but there’s no lasting appeal. That’s why I always looked to get freaked out from psychological thrillers. Movies that can really freak with your mind or how you think deserve a round of applause. The Gift may not deserve a standing ovation, but this is certainly a film that won’t be easily forgotten.
Written and directed by Joel Edgerton, The Gift centers around Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) who just moved to a fancy new home in Chicago after Simon gets a promotion. While getting supplies for their home, they come across Gordo (Edgerton), somebody from Simon’s past that Simon has no memory of. Gordo proceeds to send gifts to their home that get creepier and creepier, as well as try to become best buddies with the couple. But why? What else is going on? What secrets are being hidden? Why is Joel Edgerton so goddamn talented? Dude is making us all look bad.
Directing, writing, and taking the juiciest role? And nailing it? Bravo, Mr. Edgerton. While he’s written a few scripts, including last year’s The Rover, this is his directorial debut. Even though The Gift is mostly in the script and performances, with not much visual flair, this is still a tremendous effort.
There’s a couple of those lazy jump scares that solely rely on a loud sound to fright, but Edgerton makes up for that. Some of the teasing he does, where he tricks the audience into thinking the cliché way but does nothing leaving us to let out a sigh of relief, is a lot of fun and all the actors were perfectly fine in their roles. Here’s hoping Edgerton gets behind the camera again soon.
Edgerton’s script is exhilarating at times. The film’s best moments caused a mix of fright and excitement with my poor little heart pounding during a very disturbing scene at the very end. Edgerton finding excitement in every scene, whether it’s the smallest character development or another shocking piece of the puzzle. Because of this, pacing was at top speed, with the 100 minute movie gone in about half of that.
The Gift is a very impressive feat. It’s not breaking any boundaries or changing the game, it’s just a freaky movie that is well worth your time. If anything, it’s worth seeing just to appreciate what Joel Edgerton accomplished here.