The Gift (2000)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Supernatural Drama, Whodunit  |   Release Date - Dec 20, 2000 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

While Sam Raimi continues to broaden his scope as a hotshot director for hire with this gothic Southern-fried mystery thriller, his quasi-stylish camera work and a fine performance from Cate Blanchett can't overcome the wretched script's hokum-filled roots. Playing precisely like a dull "woman in jeopardy" television movie of the week, The Gift contains a few moments of genuine suspense, but even these are largely contrived (a lurking shadow turns out to be a friendly visitor, but not before "popping out" from behind a door in order to goose the audience). The real horror contained in the script by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson is the unrelenting depiction of women as victims of domestic violence, threats, and even homicide. By the time the film gets around to depicting a clich├ęd, one-note sheriff played by J.K. Simmons and an absurd, prosaic courtroom sequence that unfolds with all of the awkwardness of a student film, viewers will have mentally checked out.