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Review: The Visitor – “An enticing, slow-burning and spooky mystery”

Written by Simon Boyes (Songbird) and Adam Mason (Blood River) and directed by Justin P. Lange (The Dark), The Visitor stars Finn Jones (Iron Fist) and Jessica McNamee (The Meg).

The latest Blumhouse joint sees young couple Robert (Jones) and Maia (McNamee) move back to Maia’s hometown of Briar Glen and into her recently inherited family home. Robert is struggling with his mental health and taking medication in secret, but trying desperately to fit in. However, he may actually fit in a little too much, as he keeps finding old paintings and photos that feature an uncanny likeness of him and the super creepy townspeople are being uncomfortably friendly…

The Visitor’s first act is a lot of ominous fun and thankfully Robert is just aware of the sheer volume of massive red flags he is encountering as we are, plus there are some creaking doors and books flying off shelves to hold the attention of the impatient, but it’s the second act that is the most enjoyable.

Following clues, secret notes and hushed whispers, Robert makes his way through town and the townspeople trying to find out what on earth is going on and why he’s in all these pictures. It’s an awfully engaging puzzle and the more Robert digs, the weirder and more worrying it all gets.

The whole thing is very dependent on Finn Jones and he is at his best here. Extremely curious, but careful not to overstep and put himself and his partner and jeopardy, but there’s also a feeling that he could secretly be a little flattered to be being made such a fuss of too.

If you are a fan of folk horror, and horror films in general, The Visitor is a bit of a double-edged sword. It’s smart and savvy and embraces and twists lots of familiar tropes in rewarding ways, but if you have seen three-in-particular very well-known horror films the finale will seem far too familiar.

An enticing, slow-burning and spooky mystery, with some deliciously nasty twists, The Visitor does suffer from being too derivative of the classics.

THE VISITOR will be on digital and on demand on October 7th and on EPIX December 2022.

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