Suspense movies that masquerade as horror movies are still scary, though never nearly as scary as they could be. The story behind The Gift isn’t terrifying on the surface, but the idea of a bully being bullied has a certain ring to it that makes all of us that were bullied, even a little, feel some justice, while shining a light on what happens to those people when they grow up. The acting was middling. The main actress, the one the story seemed to hinge around, never drew me in. Jason Bateman pretty much plays himself in whatever movie he’s in, though he was more of a jerk in this one, but still the atypical mean white guy. Joel Edgerton was quite sympathetic, even when the story reveals itself, I still feel more badly for him than anyone else.
I can’t say I’d highly recommend this movie, but I do want to stop and sort of digest what I saw. The critics, to some degree, raved about the pacing and suspense, but the only thing that kept me engaged was the devolution of Joel Edgerton’s Gordo. What happens to someone when they get bullied to the point that he’s pulled out of school? What happens to the kids that do the bullying? The real turning point for me, and the wife, was the reveal that Bateman’s character is a bully in all facets of his life, thus beginning the question of how the wife never noticed what a sleaze she was married to. I mean, do bullies just always win because they’re bullies? I know where I work, the worst person is the one running the show and she does just bully everyone. Even if you stand up to a bully, that doesn’t stop that person. There are so many people who just bulldoze their way through life, I often wonder what makes their needs and desires more important than mine. Why do I have to acquiesce, to fold like a wicker table, to other peoples’ demands? And somehow, in society, I think people would still root for Jason Bateman’s bully because he’s a ‘winner.’ Kind of like Tom Brady, to some degree. You have to be a jerk to win at life and bullies are just jerks, aren’t they? Regardless of what causes them to act that way, they just think it’s okay and we just ignore or do what they want to make it stop. This movie had me thinking more about bullying than the horror and that says something.