To be honest, I expected little from the Gift. This was mostly due to it being produced by Blumhouse, whose previous work includes "masterpieces" such as Insidious, the Purge and Sinister. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Joel Edgerton's directorial debut, which neatly twisted from a standard horror flick to an intense psychological thriller. Jason Bateman, from Arrested Development fame, delivers a surprisingly convincing performance as Simon, who moves to LA with wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall, excellent) for a "fresh start." They meet Gordo (Edgerton), an old school friend of Simon's, who catches them off guard with his hospitality, stopping by at their house regularly to deliver gifts and have dinner with them. Simon is disturbed by Gordo's persistent presence and asks him to stay away, which is where the trouble begins.
Edgerton delivers a standout performance, playing the socially awkward Gordo subtly enough to create doubt among the viewer as to who we should really pity. Bateman no doubt helps to create this tension, gradually revealing that Simon is far from perfect. Hall also impresses as his "caught in the middle" wife whose trust in Gordo wavers. Edgerton also deserves much praise for his work behind the camera too, with some impressive wide tracking shots that really draw out the beauty of the LA hills. Tension is also well built up to deliver a couple of satisfying scares. The final twist also caught me off-guard and was sickeningly well done. Credit is due for the path that the Gift took. It could simply have taken the easy route and chosen the home-invasion route, similar to the Purge. Thankfully, it went for a more ambitious approach and it just about paid off.