The Gift is the latest offering from production stable Blumhouse, best known for horror movies Sinister and Insidious. Bumhouse, more like.
Like both those films and a thousand others, The Guest (or whatever it’s called) starts with a couple moving into a big house in the suburbs. Rebecca Hall is the wife and Jason Bateman the husband (possibly named Simon Cowell but probably not), a corporate arsehole with a phobia of monkeys. It’s worth pointing out at this point that it’s not a comedy.
They bump into Simon’s former classmate Gordo, played by Joel Edgerton, who also writes and directs (and was Pharaoh Ramesses II in Ridley Scott’s in-no-way-whitewashed Exodus: Gods and Kings). But Gordo starts showing up at their house, bringing them gifts, and generally goes all Single White Male.
Gordo’s blatant psychopathy is obvious to everyone but Hall’s character Robyn, even as he dutifully ticks all the movie stalker boxes (breaks into their home, steals their dog, kills their fish). The first 90 minutes will be familiar to anyone who’s seen Fatal Attraction or a film. The last 20 might surprise with its sub-Se7en (or minus 7) ending, although it’s stupid at best and misogynistic at worst.
The reviews are surprisingly good, probably due to pleasant surprise that the House of Blum has actually produced a film with a story. Albeit a desperately formulaic one, packed with unsympathetic characters and ideas above its station. In the end, the only intriguing mystery is why Rebecca Hall is wasting her time in The Gift, a film as generic and forgettable as its title.