When I was young and “invincible”, I liked horror movies. Growing up with two older siblings, I kind of bypassed the whole concept of censorship ratings—watching what they watched without a thought. Back then it was easy to separate movie happenings from reality, although I have to say that When A Stranger Calls freaked me out, and still does!
I’m no longer a fan of TSTL (too stupid to live) teenagers in a creepy house who split up and wander outside alone in the middle of the night to investigate suspicious noises… after the power has gone out. I like psychological thrillers that don’t have any gory bits or gratuitous violence. And THE GIFT delivers!
It’s such a clever film, making you question every little thing about Simon and Robyn’s marriage, and Simon’s past. Gordo is the the giver of the gifts in the title, and there’s something “off” about him right from the start. It’s interesting to watch Simon (who went to school to school with Gordo) and Robyn react to him in completely different ways. She feels sorry for him, and her instinct is to tread gently and be kind. She sees her husband’s lack of tolerance as odd, and wonders why he’s being so adamant about cutting Gordo out of their lives. She senses that something happened years ago, back at school, but the truth is so much worse than anything she imagined. It’s beautifully done. Creepy moments blend seamlessly with secrets and suspicions, and weird, shadowy photography that makes you glad you don’t live in a house with so much glass and so few window coverings.
Recommended for: adults who are prepared to ponder at length what it was they just saw. (You have to decide for yourself what you think really happened.)
Note to self: not the best thing to have watched before spending a few days alone.