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The Gathering (2003)

DVD Cover (The Weinstein Company)
Genres:
Religious Horror, Supernatural Thriller, Thriller
Director:
Brian Gilbert Brian Gilbert
Starring:
Christina Ricci Christina Ricci
Ioan Gruffudd Ioan Gruffudd
Stephen Dillane Stephen Dillane
Kerry Fox Kerry Fox
Simon Russell Beale Simon Russell Beale

5.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: September 18, 2007
It's usually a bad sign when a film is supposed to get a theatrical run but ends up going straight to video. It's an even worse sign when said film contains an extremely high-profile actress. Things really start to look bad when the film sits in the studio vault for upwards of five years. All of those things apply to The Gathering, and when you also factor in that I found the film sitting in the bargain bin for a measly five bucks, I truly expected to find myself watching a film that I loathed. Well, the good news for the film is that I actually enjoyed it to a certain extent, but the bad news is that I can fully understand why it skipped the theatrical run.

The storyline... well, the storyline is pretty hard to describe without delving into the land of spoilers, so this is going to be a brief synopsis. Basically, we've got two separate storylines that will inevitably come together toward the middle of the film (don't they always?). One of the storylines centers around a first-century church that has recently been unearthed and the strange things that are found inside the ruins, and the other storyline deals with Cassie Grant (Christina Ricci), a young lady with a touch of amnesia. As the secrets of this long-buried church are revealed, Cassie finds herself living with a couple and their two children while she attempts to piece together who she is, where she came from, and what she's doing in an entirely different country. How do these two very different events come together? Watch it and find out for yourself; most of the storyline revolves around one revelation which I do not wish to spoil here, so just take my word on it.

I realize that that's an extremely vague synopsis, but it's hard to really describe this film without giving too much away. Revealing the main gist of the storyline requires that I spell out one of the big plot twists, describing the film up until that point requires that I spoil something else, and giving a spoiler-free version of the story comes out a little something like the above paragraph. Let's just say that it's a fairly interesting thriller with lots of religious undertones and a touch of the supernatural, shall we?

So, what can I tell you about the film? Well, for starters, it exceeded my expectations and turned out to be an intriguing thriller that - although far from a perfect film - kept me interested and entertained from start to finish. There's some great ideas here and even though the viewer is required to check his or her brain at the door when dealing with some of these twists, I have to admit that it played out nicely and did a damned good job with the material.

The main plot of the story deals with religious themes and secrets that the church has kept hidden from us "common folk" over the years, and although the theme of the film will probably remind viewers more than a little of The Da Vinci Code, there is a big difference between the two offerings. Whereas Da Vinci offered us a little bit of action and a small dosage of mystery to go along with the religious stuff, The Gathering gives us a large amount of supernatural events and mysterious people with its religious revelations. This will either work for you or it won't, but personally, I thought that it worked fairly well... and if you enjoyed Da Vinci, chances are pretty good that you'll enjoy this as well.

Honestly, the only complaint that I had about the film was how far from reality some of these twists are, but depending on how much you can put your brain on hold and ignore logic while watching, you may feel differently. Plus, it's always nice to see Christina Ricci in a leading role, and as always, she turns in a great performance here. Overall, at bargain bin prices, it's worth a purchase. 6/10.
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