The Visitation Review

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[The Visitation]
Plot:A small town torn apart by supernatural events involving a mysterious stranger and his unsolved past.

Cast: Martin Donovan, Edward Furlong, Kelly Lynch, Randy Travis, Richard Tyson, Ellen Geer, Joe Unger, Priscilla Barnes, Noah Segan, James Horan, Lew Temple, Hillary Tuck, Lin Ciangio, Frank Clem, Don Swayze.

My Thoughts:Not bad despite it's stale premise.

Review:Religious themed horror movies are all usually the same. The evil character poses as some sort of deity or messenger as part of his or her plan to gain a bunch of followers to do their bidding. "The Visitation" follows the same path, but uses a really nice twist at the end to separate itself from the rest of the boring pack. The film begins with one of the movies main characters involved in a car accident caused by three apparitions appearing on the road in front of him. Soon these apparitions which come in the form of three men are appearing all over town telling anyone who will listen that "He" is coming. So of course the question becomes...who is "He"? He is Brandon Nichols, a mysterious stranger with a mysterious past played by Edward Furlong. No one knows much about Brandon except for the town sheriff who is very suspicious of Brandon when he finally makes his way into his smalltown claiming to be Jesus Christ reincarnated. While the sheriff doesn't believe him, alot of the townspeople do, as Brandon seems to have some sort of supernatural power over them which puts them into a state of euphoria mixed with an edge of homicidal rage. Pretty soon the whole town is following Brandon and at the same time Sheriff Jordan (Martin Donovan) is now more suspicious of him than ever and sets out along with the town nurse Morgan Elliot (Kelly Lynch) uncover his mysterious past. "The Visitation" plays out like most movies of this sub-genre, nothing that happens from beginning to middle is really much of a surprise. The story itself though is intriguing enough and coupled with Edward Furlong's actually quite good performance, is enough to keep the viewer from mentally wandering off throughout the movie. The performances of most of the other cast members is pretty good as well, which for a film like this is pretty surprising. You get the sense that director Robby Henson knew he needed a moderately talented cast to go along with the movies mystery and thriller packed script which was penned by Brian Godawa and Frank Peretti. Furlong's character of Brandon Nichols is an unclean and unshaven looking man and Furlong portrays the character in the usual mesiah like fashion. Although what set's Furlong's character in "The Visitation" apart from other characters in movies cut from the same cloth as this one, is the sinister feeling you get everytime he's on screen. You can really tell that even though he pretends to be a savior of sorts, there's something really no good and evil about this character. When the films hero and heroine finally uncover the secret of Furlong's character, the bigger surprises are yet to come as the films climax reveals an even larger secret behind Furlong's character. Godowa and Peretti do an excellent job of finishing off their script with a huge punch and an ending that really makes you think and backtrack to the overall message of the film...which is generally the everlasting battle between good and evil. However, unlike other movies which come with a more clear cut ending and message..."The Visitation" does a great job of kind of fitting it's moral or point into a sort of gray area where the good guys aren't necessarily good, and the villain of the movie Brandon Nichols...isn't necessarily the horrible guy one would think he was despite all of the disturbing things that he does in the movie. I'm sure while the overly religious would be a bit upset about the ending, someone like myself can appreciate the less preachy and more mid-card note that the movie ends on. "The Visitation" isn't the most exciting film you'll ever see, but it does do alot of things right to hold the viewers interest using it's solid story and above average performances, to make one overlook the lack of action within the movie.

Positives:Great story, good performances by Furlong and Dnovan. Great ending.

Negatives:The film drags in some areas...mostly the moments when Furlong or Donovan aren't on-screen.

Overall:An above average horror/thriller pic.

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