The Gift (2015) & Coherence (2013) Reviews

Okay, these two aren’t horror films but they’re “mystery thrillers” (one a sci-fi mystery thriller) and it feels right to review them as part of October Horror Month. I love a good thriller! And these two weren’t too bad. Let’s discuss… 

The Gift (2015)

Directed & Written by Joel Edgerton

Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, Tim Griffin, Allison Tolman, Beau Knapp, P.J. Byrne, David Denman, Busy Philipps, Wendell Pierce, Katie Aselton, Mirrah Foulkes, Nash Edgerton

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A young married couple’s lives are thrown into a harrowing tailspin when an acquaintance from the husband’s past brings mysterious gifts and a horrifying secret to light after more than 20 years.

My Opinion:

I thought this was a good film in terms of “psychological mind-fuckery”. I love psychological horrors & thrillers and Joel Edgerton’s character was creepy as shit. It’s a hard film to discuss without spoiling the outcome. I’ll just say that the horrible thing that may or may not occur (and it is truly disturbing) is left up to interpretation. I love it when it’s left up to the audience to decide. Did he or didn’t he?! Oh man, I hope not. It’s my own personal opinion that he did NOT. But that’s the whole point of the psychological fuckery behind Edgerton’s character’s motives. It’s a well written psychological thriller and I did enjoy it (despite being somewhat offended and grossed-out…!).

Sorry for the vague review. If you’ve not seen it, it’s better if you don’t know much about it. I’d compare it to another rather random favorite “psychological mind-fuckery” film of mine: Malice starring Nicole Kidman & Alec Baldwin. I’ve not thought of that one in a long time. I can’t exactly say that was a “great” film but it was a thoroughly entertaining thriller. Hmm… Another one that comes to mind is David Fincher’s The Game (although I wouldn’t say The Gift was as good as The Game). Another fun one was Shattered (1991). Overall, The Gift is a decent psychological thriller & I wish more films like this were still made. It feels like we don’t get as many movies within this genre nowadays as we did in the 80s/early 90s. I’d like to see more being made again (even if they’re cheesy like those 80s/early 90s ones often were!). It’s a fun genre.

My Rating: 7/10

Coherence (2013)

Directed & Written by James Ward Byrkit

Starring: Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Strange things begin to happen when a group of friends gather for a dinner party on an evening when a comet is passing overhead.

My Opinion:

This movie is very much my type of thing (mindfuck sci-fi!) and I really liked it. I need to see it again, though. This is one of those movies that you’ll probably need to rewatch to catch things you may have missed the first time around. So, hey hubby! I know you were annoyed I watched this without you. I’ll rewatch it with you sometime! 😉

I’ll say it starts out quite slow and some of the friends who’ve gathered for a dinner party had the potential to really get on my nerves. Why are people at dinner parties in movies so annoying? Who the hell has dinner parties in real life anyway? Maybe I just have no class. If you come to my house, I’ll just order a pizza & we can watch a movie! Anyway, this started out a bit like a thriller I reviewed last year for October Horror Month: The Invitation (which I also quite liked despite it starting out with some annoying dinner party wankers). But Coherence gets far more weird than that one. Oh I do love weird!

In reading about this, I read that director & writer James Ward Byrkit was inspired by The Twilight Zone, which would explain why I liked it since that’s my absolute favorite TV series ever. It does have a very Twilight Zone feel. I do have to compare it to a few other movies I’ve seen in the past few years to better give you an idea of what it’s like. By the way, I recommend all these films: Primer (although it was WAY over my head), Predestination (love this crazy time travel mind-bender), and Circle (fantastic story in which a group of 50 strangers wake up in a mysterious room and realize that someone will die every two minutes & that they have the ability to choose who will be next). To be honest, although I thought Coherence was pretty great, I think I was slightly underwhelmed simply because I saw Predestination & Circle first and I thought they were brilliant mindfuck science fiction films. If you watch them, just keep an open mind. Especially with Circle, which seemed very low budget but had such a good story that I didn’t care.

As for Coherence, I’d probably again say it’s best to not know too much beforehand so I’ve not gotten into any specifics about the story. I love the idea that comets could totally mess us up, though. That’s such 1950’s Twilight Zone thinking! I will just say that they don’t all turn into weird comet-zombies like in Night Of The Comet (that movie kicks ass, by the way). 😉 I do recommend this movie to lovers of sci-fi weirdness and promise you’ll enjoy the story after the dinner party wankers stop being annoying once the weird shit starts going down.

My Rating: 7.5/10

13 thoughts on “The Gift (2015) & Coherence (2013) Reviews

  1. I liked both of these films. The Gift’s, I don’t know, would you call that a twist? A stinger? Either way, that was so fucked up.

    I’m glad you reviewed Coherence. Not enough people talk about that film.

    • I am so happy you have reviewed Coherence. It’s one of my all-time favourite low budget sci-fi ever and I think it did brilliantly everything it wanted.

      The movie was shot during 5 days in a very minimal setting, Byrkit’s house, with $50,000 budget.

      Since there was no precise script, Byrkit decided to involve some of his friends or somebody he knew well enough to invite them staying in his house for shooting something experimental. None of the actors were told what they were actually filming, just having a card with general descriptions of the characters they were supposed to play or how they should behave in certain situations. None of them knew what other actors were told to portray. Sometimes it was like an exaggerated version of themselves (case of Nicholas Brendon, you have probably seen him in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”).

      Byrkit, who originally comes from a theater background, was a long-time collaborator of Gore Verbinski and worked as a storyboard artist in three movies of the “Pirates of the Carribean” franchise and a co-screenwriter for “Rango”. He had enough irony to admit though than while he enjoyed storyboarding for these huge movies, it was most importantly an occasion to find future connections and funding for something independent and experimental.

      It took about a year of planning and fitting all the elements of the puzzle together. The idea originated from Byrkit’s intention to make something of bare bones (here steps in his theater background). Purity and simplicity, no filming crew and NO SCRIPT (a 12-page draft was used instead), but still avoiding the usual stuff a bazillion of other relationship-based indie movies do.

      Byrkit and Alex Manugian (who also did one of the main roles) created kind of maps, that would outline all the twists and characters collisions with logical explanations.

      • That’s really interesting stuff! Thanks for the info – I didn’t really look into the making of Coherence. I think they made a really good movie. Just goes to show that all you REALLY need is a good story & script. 🙂

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  3. The idea of dinner parties has always kinda terrified me. All that socialising… people judging your cooking… I have dealt with this by basically not growing up and/or not having those kind of real-life friends. Much better.

    Still, I liked Coherence. Very interesting movie. I’d ignored The Gift, but it sounds like it might be worth a look (especially with your comparison to The Game, even if it isn’t as good).

    • Lol. Glad it’s not only me who doesn’t like dinner parties. I hate cooking. And socializing. I’m happy to eat noodles out of a pan while sitting on the couch. 😉 Coherence was really good. You might like The Gift. It’s not as good as The Game but it’s certainly… Hmm. It’s a good suspense film and a little messed up!

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