What's In The Box In 'The Gift'? There's A Reason The New Movie Is The Most Twisted Thriller Of The Year
From the subject of Se7en's climactic finale to Megan's container on Felicity, mystery boxes have been a frequent device used in television and movies to create a sense of dramatic tension. The unknown contents in any container keep the audience guessing and move the story forward, and as much as we get frustrated in trying to solve the mystery, it's a welcome tease that keeps things interesting. In this summer's sleeper hit thriller, The Gift, a mystery box device is the the movie's central focus. But what's in the box? The Gift poster shows its villain (Joel Edgerton) holding a wrapped present, and even the weakest horror fans will still be begging to know what's inside.
In some cases like Felicity or Pulp Fiction, the mystery box remains a mystery, and is left up to the audience's imagination. In other movies like Se7en, we find out what's in the box, but we never see it. With The Gift, though, what happens is something else entirely — the box is opened, but it's just one of many gifts given to Simon (Jason Bateman) by Edgerton's Gordo. The one on the poster is a symbol for a collection of gifts that Gordo delivers — and all those gifts are symbol of revenge that culminate into a final present that gives one of hell of a twisted ending. Spoilers ahead, obviously.
True to title of the movie, The Gift is filled with all the anticipation of opening a present. It's exciting, but unlike a gift given on Christmas day, the figurative and literal gifts in the movie are meant to psychologically break you down and mess with you mind. When Simon runs into old high school friend Gordo, they develop a very uneasy relationship. Throughout the movie, we learn that Simon bullied Gordo in high school — but it seems like they have buried the hatchet on that matter. Even so, Simon keeps it a secret from his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall). At the same time, Gordo develops a friendship with Robyn. All the while, Gordo leaves gifts on the doorstep: a bottle of wine, Koi fish for their pond — innocent "welcome to the neighborhood" things, but something about all of this doesn't feel right to Simon.
Gordo then invites the couple to his house for a dinner party, and that's where things start to take an interesting turn. Simon feels uncomfortable with Gordo's creepiness and confronts him about it, telling him to leave them alone. Bad idea. Things start to happen to Simon and Robyn. Their dog goes missing. The Koi fish end up dead. Robyn feels like she is constantly feeling like she is being watched while at home.
After another more aggressive confrontation between Simon and Gordo, Gordo disappears, and things start to calm down. Robyn is pregnant, and Simon's job seems to be going smoothly. Soon, though, Gordo's presence, while not seen, begins to be felt. During a celebration of Simon's new promotion at work, someone disrupts the party, claiming that Simon unethically stole the job. At the same time, Robyn goes into labor. They have a child, but soon after Simon gets fired. After that, Robyn realizes she can't live in fear anymore and wants to leave Simon. It's a rough time for both of them.
This brings us to the ultimate gift of the movie that ties everything together. When Simon arrives home, there is a huge box — unsurprisingly, from Gordo. He opens it to find a car seat for their new baby... but there are also smaller gifts inside. One is a key to their house — which basically means that Gordo has been going in and out of their house whenever he pleases. The other is a CD of Wagner's "Flight of Valkyries" which plays alongside a DVD that has hidden camera footage of Robyn. The final scene of the DVD has her passed out from drugs and a guy (we assume it's Gordo) in a monkey mask about to take advantage of her. Whether or not he does or not is unknown because the tape ends before we find out. But when you put the pieces together, the audience is led to believe that the baby isn't Simon's, but Gordo's. I told you it was a twisted ending!
After all that, there are a couple of lessons. Number one: don't bully anyone, or else they might come back and make your life a living hell. Number two: not all gifts should be opened. You just never know what kind of horrible things might be inside.
Images: STX Productions (2), Giphy