Eppler: A 'Gift' for moviegoers arrives in theaters late summer

Eppler: A 'Gift' for moviegoers arrives in theaters late summer

"The Gift" is one sick and twisted little movie, which is a real compliment considering how hard it is for movies to be surprising anymore. The script by Joel Edgerton, who also directs and stars, is a smart, tense thriller that turns the story and your stomach in knots.

Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall are Simon and Robyn, a married couple who've just moved to a new home in the town where Simon grew up. They happen to run into Gordo, played by Edgerton, an old high school classmate of Simon's who latches on to the couple and starts leaving gifts at their home.

Robyn thinks the socially awkward Gordo is harmless, but Simon insists he's up to something. It becomes obvious there's bad history between Simon and Gordo when the couple starts getting terrorized in their home. But that's all I'm telling because the movie is packed with surprises even when you think you've go it figured out. Everyone involved has secrets.

The performances are all fantastic, but Bateman is the standout in the best dramatic performance of his career so far. A glance from him while someone else is talking speaks volumes. I also loved Hall, who serves as our proxy trying to figure out just what terrible thing happened between these two guys as she grows more terrified.

Edgerton's direction is subtle and effective. He keeps up rapt with tension, never letting us settle in. We search every mirror or window in a frame, waiting for a shocking surprise. 

"The Gift" does have its problems with characters making dumb mistakes and a few cheap jump-scares, but it's also an intense mystery that will keep you guessing until the end credits.

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