Another trio of reviews, but this time it’s thrillers.
The Gift (2015)
After moving back to his hometown, Simon is reacquainted with an old schoolmate named Gordo. The interactions are kind, although overbearing as Gordo often leaves them gifts despite not knowing them well. Simon doesn’t appreciate the gestures and believes the man is more interested in his wife than anything else. When they try to cut off contact with Gordo, he begins to behave oddly and things go awry. Robyn slowly forms a paranoia that he’s in the house and means to do harm.
The film itself may play as a standard stalker film in the beginning, but it slowly evolves into something else. It’s sad, disturbing, and a fairly unpredictable film. The ending is abrupt, but it allows the viewer to make their own conclusion.
Stonehearst Asylum (2014)
Loosely based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, this film follows a young doctor, Edward Newgate, hoping to gain experience at an insane asylum in 1899. He is surprised that the superintendent, Dr. Silas Lamb, is overly kind to his patients, allowing them to join staff dinners and refusing to medicate or experiment on them. Soon he discovers that the staff he is interacting with are the real patients of Stonehearst and must play along until he can escape.
I recall when this trailer was released, many claimed it was too similar to Shutter Island, which also stars Sir Ben Kingsley. However, once you are watching this film, you realize that this is something completely different. The film has an impressive cast and was quite entertaining to watch, although it wasn’t too suspenseful until the ending.
The Invitation (2015)
It’s been two years since Will and his wife Eden divorced, shortly after the death of their son. She has since remarried to David after meeting in a support group, and the two host a dinner party with friends she hasn’t seen in years. Will gets an invitation along with his new girlfriend Kira. It’s awkward at first but Will notices Eden seems extremely happy. As the party kicks off, Will meets two peculiar friends of Eden and David. They begin to speak about their ideologies regarding life and death. Will is quite suspicious from the beginning and the odd party talk does nothing to quell that. His paranoia is often shot down but could he be right that something is amiss with his ex?
This film is very slowly paced for the first hour. There are little things discovered here and there, but nothing ever flourishes into something else. However, it begins to find its pacing eventually and forms its story. It’s such a well-crafted film and keeps you with an uneasy feeling the entire time. It’s really a great low-budget thriller that packs a powerful punch.