ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Gathering (2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Brian Gilbert

Starring:
Christina Ricci/Cassie
Ioan Gruffudd/Dan
Stephen Dillane/Simon
Kerry Fox/Marion
PLOT-CRUNCH
Wandering hottie Cassie (Ricci) is hit by a car, loses her memory and is taken in by the driver (Fox). Then Cassie's day truly goes in the crapper when violent premonitions or/and gory visions begin to plague her pea brain. What is truly going on in the town of Ashby Wake? Gather around kids...
THE LOWDOWN
When taking into account that The Weinsteins (when they were part of Dimension Films) have been squatting on this baby since 2002, I was expecting it to be a shit sandwich with a side order of crapola and excrements sprinkled on top. I mean its a horror film that stars genre fav Christina Ricci, why the long wait for some US loving! That usually spells Bad News Bitch to me! Thankfully, much like with everything else in life,  I was wrong.

Now the version I saw was the US cut. After some research I found out that the Weinsteins, in all of their "filmmaking wisdom" shaved 10 minutes off the film for its US release. I'm talking snipped out dialogue, a chopped out sex scene (With Ricci involved...WTF...are the Weinstein's gay? Why cut that out? Sheesh!) while other scenes were shortened. Now I like to judge a movie in its entirety, the way the director intended me to see it, but alas I was stuck with this chop-top edition, so its the one I'll frolic with. Although far from a masterpiece, THE GATHERING still proved to be a decent genre hand-job, one worth getting stroked by, to then be mostly forgotten about as the end credits roll. 

I was personally reeled in like a wiggly trout right away by the film's gnarly and novel religion themed premise, then was kept in its unholy web via its mucho unique mystery (I won't tell). The striking setting in which the madness took place (can't go wrong with the Isle of Man - see The Dark), the chilling atmosphere at play, the serviceable directing and the seldom suspenseful bits made the ride go down smooth as well. Thank Zeus above (or is it below) that the oh so "bangable" Christina Ricci was in top form as per usual, hence giving me a lead character that I wanted to hang with. Of course the fact that the "Riccies" in her bra were often draped in tight and flattering tops, also helped matters in that department. Yes I'm a simple man, stimulated by simple things i.e. tits. Furthermore, I'm happy to report (well not that happy...) that the kid (well played by Harry Forrester) the story was centered around was NOT annoying and actually made for an efficient "tool" to get some anxiety rolling. Very rare in my world! Finally the last block of the flick spanked where it count with some swell violence, minor thrills and efficient chills.

Problem was, as-is, the film would've made a better short than feature, as it spread its meat way too thin making way for a lumbering middle section. Although I was far from bored, I can't say that I got too excited either. The middle 40 minutes of this ride went a little bit like this: the mystery is being uncovered cut away to Ricci meeting peeps and having visions - cut away to the mystery is being uncovered - cut away to...get my drift? I needed more bumps in the narrative, physical get-downs and more drastic turn of events to get my jockeys in a bunch. Here, redundant was the word while scares were fairly non-existent and hookers was the other word. Yes, hookers. Why? Cause that's who I wanted to call whilst the flick was playing its play and rewind shtick. Finally although the twists abound were pretty damn fly in concept, I did see them coming at least by the halfway mark. Yes they whooped some ass when they surfaced but they also popped out with half of their intended impact since I knew in advance what was what,

All in all The Gathering made for a decent sit down. The film kept me engaged on varied levels, it sported a couple of swell concepts and Ricci was as good as Ricci gets. Too bad the unravelling of events was meh to say the least, the scares scarce and the surprises see-through by the halfway point. You gonna gather round this beeyatch and teach her a lesson or what?

GORE
We get an impaling, a damaged eye and messy gun-shot wounds. Not too gory but it smacked down where it counted.
ACTING
Christina Ricci (Cassie) was, for the most part (her crying scenes were weak), reliable as always, hitting all the right notes and looking ravishing while doing it. Ioan Gruffudd (Dan) had the look and demeanor for the role, he only stumbled a couple times, delivery wise. Stephen Dillane (Simon) and Kerry Fox (Marion) both did what they had to well. Harry Forrester (Michael) was a kid and not once did I feel the urge to put him in the corner i.e. good job!
T & A
Ricci kept her "Riccies" hidden and we're all lesser men for it. At least the tops were tight; as all tops should be...on chicks.
DIRECTING
I dug the film's look overall. It was spooky, dark and when in daylight, charming yet menacing. But man was tension on the low jive here and that shitty HD slow motion sucked balls; looked choppy; hence defeating the purpose.
SOUNDTRACK
We get a low key, able and chilling score.
BOTTOM LINE
THE GATHERING went straight to DVD in the US and in my useless and overrated opinion, that's where it belonged. Although it put out a trippy premise, bleak visuals, a gripping setting and a lead gal with the most, the flick didn't live up to its potential. It didn't carry enough varied beats during its middle section, wasn't as scary/suspenseful as it should've been, displayed some crappy slow mo and stopped being a mystery 40 minutes in. But at the end of the gutting, I'm happy I saw it as it made for an okay time killer and was definitely better than most of the STD horror shite that plagues the shelves. I say tap it once, with a rubber in tow then never acknowledge its existence again.
BULL'S EYE
Ioan Gruffudd went on to play Mr. Fantastic in the Fantastic Four films.

Christina Ricci was born on February 12 1980 in Santa Monica, California, USA
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