If you're a fan of psychological thrillers and true crime, then Netflix has a gift for you. It aptly comes in the form of a film fittingly called The Gift (art director: Lorin Flemming), and the true-crime inspired movie hits Netflix in March, along with many other titles dropping on the site Feb. 22. The 2015 thriller stars Jason Bateman as Simon, who receives a series of presents from his former high school classmate, Gordo, played by Joel Edgerton. The packages left on Simon's doorstep seem benevolent at first, if not a little bit desperate, but it quickly becomes clear that Gordo has an ulterior motive for befriending Simon and his wife, Robyn (Rebecca Hall).
As The Gift's trailer ominously explains, "You think you're done with the past but the past is not done with you." Even though Simon appears to not remember Gordo from their high school days, the two men have a past that doesn't seem to have ended so well. And while Gordo certainly seems like a scary stalker — he even (small spoiler alert) kills Simon and Robyn's fish after Simon tells him to stop bringing them gifts — Simon has his own secrets that lead Robyn to question her husband's character.
Both Simon and Gordo quickly become suspicious men in The Gift, and the mysteries of the two men's high school relationship becomes more and more intriguing as the movie goes on. You'll be on the edge of your seat — and probably a little worried about who you may have accidentally pissed off in high school.
One of the trailers for The Gift names a list of real cases that are eerily similar to the suspenseful movie. Each story describes homicides that people committed to get revenge for something their victim did years before, in high school. For example, there's the tale of a nurse who allegedly gave someone a lethal dosage of painkillers as revenge for the victim's supposed "stealing" of the nurse's boyfriend in high school, 20 years before the fatal overdose. Another true-crime story named in the trailer for The Gift delineates an older man who killed his high school bully from 50 years beforehand.
The movie may not tell the exact same story as these true crime acts, but the theme of high school revenge taking place years later might be truer than anyone watching The Gift would hope to believe. Edgerton, who wrote and directed the film, got the idea from a truly relatable fear: running into people from your past. "I thought how potentially terrifying it was to be like 20 years out from high school and have that tap on the shoulder from someone who said, ‘Do you remember me? We went to high school together,'" Edgerton told Fast Company.
Just that in and of itself could provide enough material for a horror movie, even without the mysterious past of Gordo's character. The fact that Simon and Gordo seemed to have gotten involved with some dark, criminal behavior back in high school raises the stakes beyond normal-levels of awkward run-ins.
As any true crime fan can tell you, the theme of a person hiding their past from their spouse is a recurrent theme in many creepy murder stories. That plays out in The Gift, and Edgerton made sure to leave audiences unsure of which character to distrust more — Simon or Gordo. In an interview with She Knows, Bateman explained, "There's this thread of petulance that Joel wrote into Simon, and Simon sort of stamps his feet a little bit and says, 'No! I've got this great life now. Where does this guy get off coming in and ruining it?'" Even in those moments, before Simon's darker past gets revealed, you get a sense that the character tends to act selfishly. As Bateman said, "He doesn't take any responsibility for it. It's a window into the past of how childish and bratty he was."
The only way to find out which person deserves the blame for the mysterious wrongdoings of the past is to watch The Gift. Thankfully, you will be able to do that come March when the thriller hits Netflix, along with plenty of other new titles.