Film review: The Gift (15)

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SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: JASON BATEMAN, JOEL EDGERTON, REBECCA HALL & WENDELL PIERCE

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 48 MINS

DIRECTOR: JOEL EDGERTON

Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut stuck in my mind long past the closing credits – achieving what psychological horrors often fail to do.

The Gift focuses on Simon (Horrible Bosses’ Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Iron Man 3’s Rebecca Hall), a couple who have just moved into their luxurious new Los Angeles home.

Before long, Simon has a chance encounter with a former school ‘friend’ named Gordo (Zero Dark Thirty’s Joel Edgerton), but things soon turn strange as Gordo perpetually turns up at their home uninvited – leaving ‘gifts’ in the process.

While Simon becomes impatient and agitated by the situation, his wife is sympathetic towards their guest’s social awkwardness. But this is mainly due to Simon fearing that a dark history – that involves Gordo – is coming back to haunt him.

And when he asks Gordo to leave the couple alone, things turn sinister, switching this into a movie that is much more sophisticated than your routine home-invasion thriller.

The three lead roles shine throughout – giving convincing and often chilling performances. They all bring something to the table, but particular focus should go on Edgerton, who impresses not just in front of the camera – but behind it too.

The Australian – also known for roles in the Star Wars prequels, The Great Gatsby and Exodus: Gods and Kings – has written and directed a slick flick that is truly suspenseful.

The thing that is so unique about Edgerton’s script is the fact that he’ll leave you wondering who the real bad guy is in the movie – as everything is not as it seems – questioning morality in the process.

The Gift is a slow-burner, getting under your skin gradually throughout the duration of the film – so if you’re looking for frequent cheap thrills, this isn’t the horror for you.

This will also be scandalously overshadowed by big summer blockbusters during its release, so sadly won’t be on the big screen for long.

So see it while you can – as it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Rating: 4/5 Mikey Clarke