The Gift (2000)
30th July 2001
Annie Wilson is a tarot card reader, but rather than being one of the many fake readers she has the true ability to see a persons future. When she lost her husband in a factory accident she started to use her abilities to provide for the remaining family by giving readings to the locals. Annie's abilities has attracted many visitors to her house and things are going well until she starts to have visions of a drowned girl.
When local girl Jessica goes missing, and the police fail to come up with any leads, they decide to approach her and ask for help. Annie soon starts to suspect that one of her customers husbands, Donnie, is the culprit. He had been beating his wife for sometime and had threaten her not to come and visit Annie. When Annie finally locates Jessica's body, Donnie is arrested and convicted of her murder. However, Annie starts to have second thoughts and the visions still continue to haunt her. Is the real killer still out there?
The picture is reasonable enough, although it could look a little washed out a times. I'm not sure whether this was a deliberate ploy as the swampy and densely forested scenery actually looked quite good for it. The bit-rate remains above average throughout the film and there are no signs of artifacting or outlining. Indeed, the many gloomy night time scenes are handled extremely well without any hint of pixelisation or colour saturation.
The sound is as good as the picture with some useful ambient surround effects throughout the film. The dialogue is crisp and easily audible in the centre channel with haunting and eerie musical score complementing it. Naturally, with this being a thriller there is no need for massive explosions and heavy LFE's.
For a Paramount disc, it is bursting full of extras. Unfortunately, they are pretty lame ones at that with the usual trailer and music video from an unknown group, although I'm sure somebody will have heard of them. The cast and crew interviews are mildly interesting, but having watched these after the film I wasn't too interested in what they had to say. The one and only redeeming feature is that the menus are animated and scored, but that's hardly an excuse to buy a disc now is it?
This film is a big disappointment. I'd heard great things about this supernatural film and was looking forward to watching the film. However, all we get are a few visions of the murder and an ending so predictable I could have penned the script myself. It is almost as predictable as What Lies Beneath. This film is described as being "a gripping tale of supernatural intrigue and chilling terror". If that was the case why did I end up trimming my toe nails and cleaning my shoes? There are much better supernatural thrillers out there as The Sixth Sense proves.
- Cast and Crew Interviews
- Music Video "Furnace Room" Performed by Neko Case and Her Boyfriends
- Theatrical Trailer