The Gift (2000)

giftI am a big fan of “Evil Dead” and Sam Raimi once again displays his skill for horror and movie-making brilliance. Though “The Gift” is tonally uneven, it’s still worth a watch if only for the mood and inherent dread present. The movie’s scenery is comprised of a country setting, but the entire landscape of the trees and bayou is so grim and dark like a painting. The night scenes are the best, showing off the odd structure of the Dali-esque trees and scenery. When a young rich woman, Jessica (Katie Holmes) disappears, Annie Wilson (Cate Blanchett) the local town psychic reader must investigate the murder, but to the relentless harassment of an abusive man named Donnie Barksdale (Keanu Reeves) who is angry at her advice to his wife about Annie advising her to leave him.

He constantly harasses her with phone calls, goes up to her kids telling them bad messages about their mother. Blamed for the disappearance of Jessica, he must go on trial and now Annie is on the hunt for the real killer and prove Donnie innocent. This movie has the potential to be a very scary and odd story, but fails on all accounts. It breathes potential but doesn’t add up to its grand scale story design. This movie has a lot of great supporting actors and a great leading lady like Cate Blanchett but doesn’t really bring anything interesting in this movie. Cate Blanchett is an excellent actress but her character is not interesting enough for us to care anything about.

Also, the movie tends to take a side step from the actual point of the story dealing with the murder and the mysterious killer and focuses on the trial of the suspect and the relentless taunting and torturing upon Blanchett’s character. Giovanni Ribisi gives a great performance in the movie, but his character and his situation have absolutely nothing to do with the movie except as a sub-plot. Cate Blanchett is great in this movie giving a realistic and down to earth movie heroine we can root for. She’s a vulnerable woman who often falls prey to the haunting force of her powers and rarely knows how to handle them.

Keanu Reeves is probably the creepiest thing in this movie becoming very believable as an abusive and threatening figure. In the movie he’s a very intimidating figure as he harasses Annie almost non-stop. Giovanni Ribisi is good as the troubled Buddy Cole, Annie’s friend and often protective spirit who seeks her guidance for his mental problems. His scenes are the saddest as he seems to be struggling with his own insanity. The movie has a great story with a creepy ending that shows why Sam Raimi is such a cult figure. An uneven yet entertaining genre entry that shows off some great performances by an all-star cast and tense writing by Thorton and Eppison, “The Gift” is a solid supernatural thriller.