Blumhouse’s newest collaboration with Epix, a spooky horror thriller by the name of The Visitor, arrives in the first week of October to little fanfare and without much advertising. When all is said and done, is the film led by Game of Thrones and Iron Fist actor Finn Jones worthy of one’s time? The answer to that question has more to do with personal horror preference than genuine filmmaking quality. If twins or the idea of doubles sends a chill up one’s spine, The Visitor may scratch that particular itch. For me, the story is too flimsy, and the end result too basic to leave much of a lasting impression.
Rather artfully designed opening credits take us for a stroll into this demented world, first following an illustrated landscape before it transitions into live action. Robert (Jones) and his wife, Maia (Jessica McNamee), are headed out to the manor he once called his childhood home. They plan to restore the building to its former glory. The secluded property has an aura of mystery swirling around it right from the beginning; after Robert discovers a painting in which the central figure looks exactly like him, he becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth behind it. People around Briar Glenn seemed obsessed with him, and as Robert discovers more doppelgänger paintings, he grows rather uneasy.
My main issue with The Visitor lies in the fact that it just feels so generic. Recurring nightmares, questioning reality, cult symbolism, and weird townsfolk—we have seen this before. I love Finn Jones, but the creative team does not give him nearly enough to work with. Take a shot every time there is a title drop of someone saying “visitor,” and one will be plastered well before getting to the conclusion. As Robert works tirelessly to uncover Briar Glenn’s hidden secrets, the audience stays ten steps ahead of him at every turn.
The type of horror feature one forgets almost immediately after it ends, The Visitor leaves something to be desired. While relative newbie Justin P. Lange does an admirable job in the director’s chair, nothing can fully repair a limp script from Adam Mason and Simon Boyes (Hangman, Songbird). Genre cliches galore force their way in, well before an underwhelming ending leaves a staleness in the air behind it. One may want to think twice about paying this movie as a visit…
The Visitor lurks in the shadows when it debuts in limited release theaters on Friday, October 7th.