When Simon (Jason Bateman) and his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) move into their new house, it doesn’t take long before they run into Gordon (Joel Edgerton, who also wrote and directed the movie), a guy Simon knew back in high school. He’s a bit of an odd character, but it’s hard to pin down why exactly. But you don’t get a lot of time to think about it, because things get increasingly odd after that. Why does Gordon leave those wrapped gifts at the door? How many chance encounters can you have with one person before you start to wonder if they really are accidental? And why does Gordon want to rekindle a friendship with someone who hardly seems to remember him?
Robyn, at first excited because she gets to meet someone from her husband’s past, starts asking herself these questions right along with you. She also starts wondering what exactly happened between Simon and Gordon all those years ago? And what exactly is Gordon’s plan? He doesn’t seem threatening, yet there’s something about the guy that makes Robyn scared to be alone in the house.
Just like Fatal Attraction and Cape Fear, The Gift is a psychological thriller that shows what happens to a happy family when a third party is introduced to the mix, one with not so good intentions. Both Hall and Edgerton are good, but it’s Bateman that surprises the most. Best known for his comedic roles, he shows a more restrained side of himself here that we haven’t seen before. The script is solid as well with plenty of twists and scares along the way and a creeping sense of unease is guaranteed to slowly take over. And when the truth finally comes out, it turns out to be even worse than expected.