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THE GATHERING
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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Brian Gilbert

Starring:
Christina Ricci
Ioan Gruffodd
Kerry Fox

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
After being hit by a car, a young tourist on her way to the small English village of Ashby Wake is taken in by the woman who hit her. As the girl settles in with the woman and her family, she begins to see visions of death around her.
Is it good movie?
The Gathering is a fascinating idea. Although it seemed reminiscent of both prequels to The Exorcist regarding the discovery of a church which had been buried for reasons unknown, it takes on another form. When an English couple find themselves looking for a little privacy away from a rave, they fall into a hole in the ground. This brings on the discover a church with images of Jesus’ crucifixion, with the exception of a group of stone carvings facing the scene. This begins a series of events with a supernatural quality. The story soon focuses on Cassie (Christina Ricci), an American backpacker who is hit by Marion (Kerry Fox), one of the townsfolk of Ashby Wake. When she wakes, she has no memory and she only knows the kindness of Marion and her family who have taken her in. She soon finds herself bonding with the woman’s step kids, Michael (Harry Forrester) and Emma (Jessica Mann) while the father is investigating the mysterious church. As she gets closer to the family, she begins to notice strangers watching her, and another man that seems to be watching Michael. This is not the friendliest town. She soon begins to have bloody images of death in regards to the townspeople. And the closer she gets to Michael, she realizes this man watching him may want to do him harm.

All this leads to a few creepy moments surrounding the church and the characters of Ashby Wake. And director Brian Gilbert keeps it moving with some beautiful images with his DP Martin Fuhrer while creating enough suspense to keep it interesting. I also enjoyed the actors, especially Kerry Fox as the woman drawn to help the young girl. She gives the character life even though her role is mostly secondary. The true sign of a terrific actress and it may be worth your while to see some of her earlier work including Shallow Grave with Ewan McGregor. As for Ms. Ricci, she does a good job here but there are a couple of moments where she lost me. Especially when she opens herself up to a stranger she met taking the children to school, and I’m sure you’ll recognize the stranger as Ioan Guffodd, I didn’t buy it for a second. But for all this, I could think of a few worse ways to kill an hour and a half. I’ve seen quite a few religious horror flicks lately and I found this to be very intriguing. The story revolving around the hidden church and the strange carvings and statues inside is a very clever and surprisingly believable premise. And the two “kid actors” are also pretty good here and Harry’s moments with Christina were terrific. This might be worth gathering around for if you are in the mood for a supernatural thriller with some eerie religious overtones. And there is a little bit of gore too... but just a little.
Video / Audio
Video: Not a bad looking Widescreen 2.35:1 version of the film, it brought out the best in the picture.

Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 sounded good. For a bare bones DVD, this was fine.
The Extras
Nobody gathered for this one. Nothing. Well, aside from Trailers for "Killshot", "The Pulse", "Lucky Number Slevin" and "Scary Movie 4".
Last Call
The Gathering is a slightly creepy and somewhat thought provoking film. Not a great film, but it has enough elements that make it work and worth a look. I like Christina Ricci, but she has a couple of “off” moments here and she doesn’t seem to have the chops that Kerry Fox does in a secondary role. I wish they had used her more. As for the rest of the cast, they work and the kids are good. I had a lot of sympathy for Harry’s character Michael, and he had some nice moments with Ms. Ricci. I recommend this because it is a well made, Brian Gilbert has a good eye for this type of picture and makes good use of his settings. Yet, this is not the kind of film that will stick with you, after The Gathering, you may suffer from a bit of amnesia yourself.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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