If you were to judge a book by its cover, then the tantalizing roster of talent assembled for 2000’s supernatural thriller The Gift may lead you to believe that the very least to be expected was all-star entertainment, if not outright cinematic excellence.
Directed by Sam Raimi from a script written by Billy Bob Thornton, the atmospheric otherworldly chiller was headlined by Cate Blanchett, with the supporting roster extending to include Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes, Giovanni Ribisi, Greg Kinnear, Hilary Swank, J.K. Simmons, and more.
That’s a deep bench to put it lightly, but based on respective Rotten Tomatoes scores of 57 and 55 percent, The Gift was more than a little undercooked. It hardly set the box office ablaze, either, earning a solid-if-unspectacular $44 million on a $10 million budget, but Netflix subscribers have decided to give it a chance on-demand.
As per FlixPatrol, The Gift has been spooking the platform’s global watch-list over the weekend, more than two decades after its initial release. Set in a tiny Georgia town where everyone knows everybody’s business, Blanchett’s purported clairvoyant is tasked to use her unnatural and ungodly abilities to assist in the investigation into the disappearance of a young socialite.
Naturally, things aren’t quite what they seem, and while there are a couple of genuinely excellent moments peppered throughout on both a visual and narrative level, it always feels as though The Gift is deliberately holding back from going all guns blazing, when cranking the insanity up by a notch or two would have elevated the material exponentially.