The Gathering (2003)
Seeing Dead People is Dead Boring
Whilst on a hiking holiday in the UK, American, Cassie Grant (Christina Ricci) ends up being accidentally run down when she steps out in front of a car driven by Marion Kirkman (Kerry Fox). Whilst miraculously suffering barely a scratch Cassie does suffer from some memory loss and so Marion takes her back to hers in Ashby Wake after the hospital gives her the all clear. It is there that not only does she become close to Marion's withdrawn son Michael (Harry Forrester) but has strange visions involving dead people. With Marion's husband Simon (Stephen Dillane) working on a recently unearthed church building with strange statues maybe there is some connection or maybe Cassie's connection goes much deeper.
Watching "The Gathering" made me feel like I was watching a British made for TV movie which was trying to pay homage to the slow burning horror movies of the early 70s. But it is a combination which does absolutely nothing for me as I struggle with the actual slow burning 70s horrors at the best of times and to watch what feels like a low budget British TV movie trying to pay homage it is extremely hard work with an almost laborious, meandering style which you don't wonder where it is going, you just don't care as it is so boring.
In truth "The Gathering" doesn't have much going on as on one hand we have Cassie and her visions, yes she sees dead people, and then we have the old church with its weird statues. Both sides are meant to make us feel the fear and be captivated by the mystery but we are given so little to invest in. None of the characters have any depth at all and so there is little compassion for any of them. About as close to engaging that "The Gathering" gets is second guessing what Cassie's connection to the area and in particular Michael is but that is by no means enough to draw you in to a movie which wanders all over the place like a lost rambler.
About the only thing which "The Gathering" has got going for it is Christina Ricci who brings her natural charm to the character of Cassie. But the character is anonymous and so are the others played by Ioan Gruffuld and Kerry Fox which contribute to the hard work which watching "The Gathering" is.
What this all boils down to is that "The Gathering" for a 21st century horror movie comes up short and is a real struggle to watch. But with a slow style similar to some early 70s horror movies it may appeal to those who grew up on those 70s slow burners.
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