The Gathering – UK, 2002

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‘The horror is real. The terror is eternal.’

The Gathering is a 2002 British horror thriller film directed by Brian Gilbert (Wilde) from a screenplay by author Anthony Horowitz (Edge: Horowitz Graphic HorrorThe Power of Five aka The Gatekeepers series; Groosham Grange).

Released internationally, the $18 million movie sat on the shelf until 2007 for a US DVD release.

Main cast:

Christina Ricci (CursedSleepy Hollow; The Addams Family and sequel), Ioan Gruffudd, Kerry Fox, Stephen Dillane, Simon Russell Beale, Robert Hardy (Dark Places; Demons of the Mind; Psychomania), Jessica Mann, Harry Forrester, Peter McNamara, Steven Mustoe. Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean) has a minor role as one of the gatherers.

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American Cassie Grant (Christina Ricci) is wandering through England on foot. On her way to Ashby Wake, Cassie is hit by a car. The driver of the car, Mrs Marion Kirkman (Kerry Fox), takes her to hospital but Cassie merely has scratches and temporarily lost her memory due to the accident. Marion invites Cassie to stay at her house, as feels guilty and responsible.

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While recovering, Cassie encounters a man named Dan Blakely (Ioan Gruffudd), whom she believes she knows, but with no idea from where. Cassie becomes attached to Marion Kirkman’s son, Michael (Harry Forrester) and becomes acquainted with her husband Simon (Stephen Dillane), an art historian, who is examining a church from Early Christianity (built near Glastonbury during the first century AD) after the arrival of Joseph of Arimathea.

This buried church was recently discovered by two visitors to the Glastonbury Festival who died after falling down a hole through the open roof. In the church there is a relief made of stone, which illustrates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Also depicted are many curious onlookers who appear to be observing the gruesome scene…

Reviews:

” … an occult thriller so dull, dreary and dangerously dry it boggles the mind. Who exactly is the target audience for a horror movie with no horror, a thriller with no thrills, and a movie with no clear focus on what it wants to say?” Scott Weinberg, DVD Talk

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” … you can ruin a story with editing, but you can’t ruin what was always a bunch of terrible performances, Ricci’s key among them. Here, she’s lumbering and inept, offering the worst performance of her career. She seems openly disinterested in the whole mess, barreling through her dialogue with no regard to the character, just so long as she can wrap things up before dinner.” David Cornelius, eFilmCritic.com

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“The problem lies principally with Horowitz’s script – though Gilbert’s lackluster direction doesn’t help… The success of 28 Days Later stemmed from the clash between a horror-savvy writer and a director unfamiliar with the genre. The Gathering shows what can happen when a director unfamiliar with horror works from a script by a writer who doesn’t know the genre either.” M J Simpson, Urban Terrors: New British Horror Cinema

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Buy: Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

“It all sounds rather creepy, and the premise is good, but this film fails on so many levels. There are no scares, zero tension and even bizarre incidents like Ricci being chased through the town whilst being stared at by locals don’t create any sense of panic or confusion.” Matt Wavish, Horror Cult Films

“Director Brian Gilbert overuses a few simple tricks for scares. Throughout, the writing and acting are pedestrian. British locations are used to good effect. The big surprise ending is really screwy.” Mike Mayo, The Horror Show Guide

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Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

Filming locations:

Isle of Man
Northleach, Gloucestershire
Penshurst Place, Penshurst, Kent
Wells Cathedral, Wells, Somerset

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Versions:

There are two different versions of the film. In the USA, the United Kingdom and in Germany only an abridged version was published on DVD, which is 13 minutes shorter than the original. A sex scene and dialogue was edited out. This abridged version lasts exactly 83:31 (PAL-DVD). The unabridged TV version, shown on ZDF in Germany and on BBC in the UK, and released on DVD in France, Poland and Japan, lasts approx. 97 minutes (PAL) and 101 minutes (NTSC).

Image credits: Horror Cult Films

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