Black Friday Sale: Get 75% off a digital subscription

Michael Haneke

'The Gift' review: A thriller wrapped in suspense

'The Gift' review: A thriller wrapped in suspense

A delayed-secret suspense thriller of unusual stealth, "The Gift" comes from actor and screenwriter Joel Edgerton, here making his feature directorial debut. Among this summer's worthwhile movies, this one faces a particular challenge, since its marketing campaign makes it look like a slasher outing.

It's not. Check the MPAA rating for a clue: "The Gift" received an R for language and language alone; no violence. So, some will see "The Gift" expecting one sort of thing, but they'll be getting another.

All three leading performers are scarily convincing on the film's own tight, clammy terms. Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play Simon and Robyn,...