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Yes, unfortunately most DVD releases of "The Gathering" are cut, and
that slightly ruins the film. Not because a short explicit scene would
make a great difference, but because plot holes were left where about
10 minutes are left out: The authenticity of two main characters,
played by Ricci (Cassie) and Gruffudd (Dan) is keenly impaired, and
that reduces the overall impression quite a lot. My rating counts for
the original version, it would have been 6 for the short version. More
info about the differences at "alternate versions" and in the message
Apart from that, this film has a really nice and intriguing story, mystery, suspense, some religious revelations, a little bit of horror and a gorgeous main actress. Worth watching... if you can get it uncut.
I bought this on DVD (the short version - grrr!) knowing that Christina Ricci was in it and nothing else. What I found was an adequate, 6/10 movie (Ricci makes it a 7, but that's just me) with little by way of originality or genuine horror, but that does not make it inferior to many blockbusters. The English setting gives it a quaint feel, as it looks genuinely normal, and not some movie version of a creepy town. The cast are better than you'd expect, and some of the direction manages to evoke sinister feelings without use of hokey effects. However, unless you are easy to please, an aficionado of low-budget horror flicks, or a fan of Christina Ricci or Ioan Gruffud (or Mackenzie Crook in a non-speaking role) then there is probably no real reason to watch this.
The Gathering has 2 elements that are familiar to us: first, the thriller element of someone who loses her memory after being hit in a car accident, and later tries to recover from amnesia, while the situation gets more and more dangerous because she doesn't know yet who she is. The second is the horror element of something ancient and evil that is unearthed after many centuries, but still alive. What makes "The Gathering" particularly interesting, however, is the third ingredient: the people who gather are not those who want to do something - they are those who wish not to do anything. The watchers of terrible events, willing audience for any murderer. This idea is put to great use here, and since everything else, from the actors to the countryside location, works fine, I don't see any reason not to enjoy this picture.
While going to the town of Ashby Wake, the drifter Cassie (Christina
Ricci) is hit by a car driven by Marion Kirkman (Kerry Fox) and loses
her memory. Marion invites Cassie to stay in her huge old house with
her family, while recovering from the trauma. Cassie becomes very close
to Michael, the young son of Marion's husband Simon Kirkman (Stephen
Dallane). He is researching a recently discovered buried church from
the First Century, with images of the crucifixion of Jesus and many
anonymous persons watching it. Cassie starts having visions and
premonitions with some locals, and decides to investigate the weird and
nasty mechanic Frederick Michael Argyle (Peter McNamara). Her findings
about who she is and the mystery relative to the locals and the town
surprises her. "The Gathering" is a good, original and mysterious
horror movie, in the same line of "The Others", "Haunted", "The Sixth
Sense"and "El Espinazo del Diablo". It is not gore, but very creepy and
scary. Christina Ricci is magnificent, as usual, and the idea is fresh
and unusual. The conclusion of the story is commercial, but it is not
bad. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "O Encontro" ("The Gathering")
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The central idea of this movie is very intriguing. Think about what M.
Night Shyamalan could have done with this: On the outskirts
Glastonbury, the remains of a church are uncovered which have
apparently been deliberately buried centuries before. Most noticeable
is the presence a fresco of people facing a statue of the crucified
Jezus Christ. Coincidently, a young woman (Christina Ricci) is hit by a
car and taken in by the woman responsible. The young woman can't
remember what she was doing near Glastonbury. It turns out that the
people depicted in the fresco are The Gathering, who seem to be present
at numerous horrific occasions in history, simply observing the
suffering. Now, these people are walking around in Glastonbury ...
Unfortunately, this idea is the only real merit of this movie. I just can't begin to explain how this movie could have been improved upon. Now, it's basically a great idea poorly executed. With Christina Ricci frantically running around in tight shirts.
I have to say, I've seen some very contradicting reviews of this film, so
even though I have to give it "two thumbs up", obviously there are others
with exactly the opposite opinion.
I've heard comparisons to "The Sixth Sense" and "The Exorcist", and my first comment is that I believe this film stands alone. I didn't see those other movies because I had no desire to, and although I've seen bits and pieces of them since, doing so changed nothing for me. Neither their trailers nor pieces of them impressed me, or intrigued my need for a real mystery.
Ever since the first time I saw a "making of" for "The Gathering", however, it sparked my interest.
And I believe, without comparing it to any other film, this movie comes through.
In the opening, it begins like a "classic horror", because there is "tragedy" (read that: blood). When Christina Ricci's character, Cassie, comes on the scene, there is the mystery of Who She Is - she doesn't know, no one knows. Although the character didn't really seem to have much depth, at least in the beginning, I didn't see that as as major drawback. How can someone with amnesia be deep?
Then the rest of the story unfolds: the uncovering of a major historical find with religious connections and sinister spiritual overtones. The appearance of people that Cassie believes may be following her or are at least Up To No Good, the visions that she has - all gruesome or violent, the child who won't speak but who seems to share her visions and growing panic, the church's establishment of what seems to be verifiable supernatural occurences throughout history related to the historical find and the people that Cassie sees. And the always-nagging question - Who Is She? and What Is About To Happen?
Maybe I am more naive than those cynical folks who didn't enjoy this movie. I don't go to classic horrors where blood is spilled everywhere, but I have seen almost every "devil" or "church" or "witch" movie I can get my hands on (without mass murdering, that is), as well as quite a few in the "thriller" genre.
And I would say that the suspense I felt while watching this movie was well-established. I tried to guess Who She Was, and I tried to guess What Would Happen Next, but for at least 2/3 of the movie this just wasn't possible for me.
For me, the "surprise" ending really was a surprise, although it unfortunately wasn't really the ending. I think the only drawback for me was that after the "surprise" was revealed, the movie went on to become more obvious, and the last scene seemed by then rather superfluous. Having said that, this didn't negate my overall enjoyment.
So I say, if you like "psycho-thrillers" (or whatever this genre is actually called), this is a movie for you. If you want rich character development and everything discussed and examined about the profoundness of being human and dealing with life-altering decisions, you need to pick a different movie.
"The Gathering" is a film that ironically never gathers much steam. Gorgeous
locations in the British Isles are wasted on a story that feels like it's
building towards something, yet never arrives at anything worthwhile. The
story in fact gets quite boring during the early first half of the movie. I
sat through this uninteresting mess hoping for an exciting climax to make my
hourlong wait all worth it, but I never got one. Instead there was the
predictable "twist" ending that I was fearing. What seems like a slow
beginning continues through a slow middle then gracelessly plows into a slow
The acting ranges anywhere from adequate, to fairly well done, to student film-ish. Christina Ricci is most certainly the only actor in this film that you will have even heard of (although Ioan Gruffudd who plays her like interest in this film will soon be starring in the sure-to-be-blockbuster "Fantastic Four" film). She does well enough here, but where has she ever done any worse than well enough? She has recently been in "Monster," "Prozac Nation," and "Anything Else." Unless you are a megafan and absolutely HAVE to see everything Ricci is in, skip this one and see any of those others.
Although The Gathering is not my favorite biblical horror film, this movie was really entertaining. Christina Ricci acted fabulously, of course, and all the lines and scenes were edgy and new. I really loved how when there would be something that is supposed to be creepy or scary, they would not play stupid irritating music. They would just let it happen without any rhythms or beats, and I found that interesting and respectable. The twist I would say is really awesome. I would have never suspected it, and it came without warning which really blew my mind. The lines are good, and I might say some material was sleezy, cheesy, and cheap, but for the most of this movie the dialogue was steady. I had never heard anything about this movie when I first watched it, and now I consider a very good movie. I own it and plan on watching it again real soon.
This film is a perfect example of a great concept stuck in a very
sedated and mediocre film. What could have been a very engaging,
thrilling, possibly cult status film, is nothing more than an hour and
a half of slow pacing and uninspired events.
Filled with clichés from start to finish, this film just never catches on and becomes far to predictable. Sadly, the ideas conveyed through the film and the overall concept are not done justice by the filmmakers. The film is just not that interesting.
Ricci has seen far better days and, especially with her Indie popularity at this time, I am surprised she took this role. Ricci's almost forced acting gives the idea that she wanted off the set as soon as possible. She has done much better. As for the other actors/actresses, there is nothing remarkable or even worth noting.
Its too bad. This film could have been so much more and its sad that the concept was wasted on this film. Maybe, somewhere down the road, it will come up again in a film, but in a film that is far more engaging and intelligent. I wouldn't mind.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The story-idea of "The Gathering" is one of the most original and unsettling horror premises in a very long time. This is a religious and supernatural thriller that focuses on mystery and ominous atmosphere, instead of grossing you out with nasty killings and/or horrible monsters. Although heavily flawed and quite illogical at times, "The Gathering" managed to surprise (and even shock) me with its intelligent screenplay about a small English town that stumbles upon an old and entirely buried (!) church. Together with this discovery, The young Cassie (Christina Ricci) arrives in town, but a seemly fatal car-accident erases her memory. While her host Simon Kirkman is attempting to unravel the mystery of the buried church and its unidentified statues that witness Christ's crucification from the reverse side, Cassie starts to have visions about a soon-to-happen drama in the quiet little town. She also finds out that the stone-statues in the church look exactly like faces she keeps on seeing in her visions, although they appear to be simple bystanders... It's hard to summarize this movie without giving away the essence of the story, which is a terrific and stunning finding. It's a pretty damn shame that this movie never really received the attention it deserved, as the quality-level comes close to that of exaggeratedly praised titles such as "The Others" or "The Sixth Sense". Christina Ricci is very convincing as the confused heroine. Beautiful Ricci is perfectly able to carry the entire film, although some of the supportive roles are also definitely worth mentioning, like Ioan Gruffudd (much better here as in blockbuster garbage like "King Arthur" or "Fantastic Four") and Kerry Fox ("Wisdom of Crocodiles"). "The Gathering" is a must see in case you're fed up with overly gore teen-slashers or uninspired remakes of horror classics. The leading lady is terrific, the filming locations are mesmerizing and the story is actually something new!! See it!
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