Saturday, October 8, 2022

The Visitor: Movie Review

A compelling premise and a creepy atmosphere and a really stupid ending.
The Visitor is Robert (Finn Jones) new to his wife, Maia’s (Jessica McNamee), hometown. After her father dies, Maia and Robert move from London to her childhood home in Briar Glen, a creepy small town in New England. The Visitor is also the name given to a series of portraits of a man who looks exactly like Robert.   2022

Directed by: Justin P. Lange

Screenplay by: Simon Boyes, Adam Mason

Starring: Finn Jones, Jessica McNamee

Maia thinks he’s crazy, saying “sure there’s a loose resemblance but let’s just get on with our lives.” But every townsperson that Robert meets is taken aback, they recognize him as somebody but won’t say who. This Blumhouse production is a lot like others – an interesting premise with a compelling hook and a setting which perfectly establishes the atmosphere, but the conclusion to the story is painfully unlikable. An awful ending which I can’t imagine many viewers actually enjoying, after they’ve hooked us in. Everything in Briar Glen is creepy and off-kilter enough to know that something isn’t right. Or a lot isn’t right.

Everybody’s sanity is constantly questioned. Is Maia right that the painting means nothing and Robert’s going crazy, probably helped by prescribed drugs which he claims he doesn’t need any more? Or is Maia oblivious to the insidiousness lurking in every creaking floorboard and dust covered mirror? Is Robert creating a mole-hill out of nothing being egged on by townspeople who everybody else knows is crazy? Or is Robert right that there is something wrong with this town and there really are people dying as he uncovers the truth?

The audience is on Robert’s side from the very beginning. Even if there’s nothing supernatural or evil going in, this is a town led by a pastor (Dane Rhodes) who delivers creepy bible verses predicting the end of times and leads the town in cult-like chants.

The film is creepy from the very beginning to the very end. The score keeps everything unsettled and there’s a few jump scares to keep you on your toes and to keep you guessing on who is sane and what the truth is. The premise is interesting enough to keep watching and the atmosphere is so well established that it looks like a good movie.

With lots of clues throughout the film, the twist at the end is predictable, but only if you’re willing to predict the stupidest possible ending. It also creates second-guessing if the premise was even good – I’ve been trying to imagine better scenarios and I’m not sure there could be a satisfying ending to this story. The Visitor is creepy and it tricked me into watching through to a very bad ending. Watch at your own peril if your curiousity gets the better of you.