The Gifted

  • 1994
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Science Fiction

This dull, rambling $100,000 debut for writer-director Scott Zakarin takes a potentially intriguing sci-fi premise and talks it to death. Dick Anthony Williams, Bianca Ferguson, and J.A. Preston play Daniel, Lisa, and Jacob--American descendants of a West African tribe with special powers to combat the evil force Ogo from the star Sirius. Ogo's goal is...read more

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This dull, rambling $100,000 debut for writer-director Scott Zakarin takes a potentially intriguing sci-fi premise and talks it to death.

Dick Anthony Williams, Bianca Ferguson, and J.A. Preston play Daniel, Lisa, and Jacob--American descendants of a West African tribe with special powers to combat the evil force Ogo from the star Sirius. Ogo's goal is to destroy the last remnants of the tribe, the "gifted," leaving him free to

destroy the Earth and recreate it as a world of hate. As children, the three are given a book by their father describing their history and destiny; he and his wife are then killed by Ogo in a fire. Lisa is also given a strange, glowing stone by a stranger who tells her that it will protect her

from evil. Over thirty years later, Lisa's first child has mysteriously died in infancy, and King, a distant African relative of the three, comes to America to track them down and help them in their battle against Ogo. Jacob dies in a plane crash, and Daniel and Lisa slowly piece together the

puzzle of their past to defeat Ogo. The solution consists of combining Lisa's stone with a totem statue their father was working on at the time of his death. Before they can complete the statue, Ogo attacks. At the cost of his own life, King intercedes and drives Ogo back long enough for Daniel

and Lisa to finish the statue and kill the demon once and for all.

THE GIFTED is what happens when a filmmaker has a $30 million idea but not enough money to carry it out. Even for a micro-budget production, however, THE GIFTED keeps tripping over its own cinematic feet at every turn. Its characters over-explain the obvious while neglecting what is not so

obvious; the film is simultaneously bloated with exposition and utterly baffling most of the time. The narrative is needlessly convoluted. The siblings lives hundreds of miles from each other for no good reason, leading to a lot of time spent driving back and forth. King wastes much time doing

scholarly research only to have all his questions answered by a package that arrives in the mail. Much depends on the apparent fact that Ogo is the laziest demonic villain in screen history. Why he waits 31 years between smiting the siblings' parents and finally getting around to the siblings

themselves is never adequately explained. His lethargy is matched only by that of the trio of heroes, who apparently never bothered to read the book their father gave them. When push comes to shove, the three wind up having to turn the text over to Lisa's nerdish, college-educated husband to

decipher what turns out to be a fairly simple solution to their crisis. Each of the lumbering plot points is accompanied by cheesy special effects, endless, exhausting talk, and really bad fright makeup that makes Ogo look more silly than scary. By the end, it's genuinely difficult to care whether

Ogo is defeated or not. (Violence.)

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  • Released: 1994
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This dull, rambling $100,000 debut for writer-director Scott Zakarin takes a potentially intriguing sci-fi premise and talks it to death. Dick Anthony Williams, Bianca Ferguson, and J.A. Preston play Daniel, Lisa, and Jacob--American descendants of a We… (more)

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