Saturday, February 17, 2018

VISITORS (2003) (Umbrella DVD Review)

VISITORS (2003) 

Label: Umbrella Entertainment
Region Code: 4 PAL
Rating: MA 15+

Duration: 86 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Richard Franklin
Cast: Radha Mitchell, Ray Barret, Susannah York

Director Richard Franklin (Psycho II) directed this ocean bound psychological thriller about a headstrong yet troubled young woman named Georgia Perry (Radha Mitchell, Rogue) whom is set solo circumnavigating the world in a thirty-eight foot sailboat. Her fiance Luke (Dominic Purcell, the CW's Legends of Tomorrow) secures a corporate sponsorship from Monée Cosmetics to fund the venture, but executive Casey (Tottie Goldsmith) has a condition that stipulates she change the name of the sailboat to Monée, which irks Georgia, beleieving that changing the name of a vessel is bad luck, but the name change turns out to be the least of her concerns on this possibly doomed sea voyage. 

It turns out that Georgia is a deeply conflicted person, having committed her mentally-ill mother to a home where she killed herself by slitting her wrists, and now her father has fallen ill, and she blames herself for a crippling accident that took the use of his legs years earlier.  While at sea she's caught up in a dead calm with no wind to propel her vessel, stranding her amidst a deep fog bank, where she is visited by her numerous inner demons in the forms of phantoms or psychological manifestations, these range from her loving father to her suicidal mother, menacing sea pirates, oceanic arachnids, and phantoms of annoying relatives, some of whom seem to be pushing for her to kill herself. Her wicked mother is played by a terrific Susan York (Superman), she proves to be her apex inner-demon, the one that seems to rule them all, with her maniacal grin and manic performance York was my favorite facet of this thriller.

The movie never really makes a case for whether the visitors are psychological or supernatural in nature, I think that ambiguity would have heightened the suspense, as it is it's just watching how Georgia resolves the inner-demons, and while I did enjoy the way a few of the phantom mysteriously come and go and how they taunt our protagonist the ending was quite underwhelming and wholly unsatisfying. 

Special Features: 
- Photo galleries (20 images) 
- Theatrical trailer (2 min) 
- Cast and crew biographies

I'm a bit saddened that the film didn't appeal to me more, director Richard Franklin made two ozploitation classic, the psycho-coma-thriller Patrick (1978) and Road Games (1981), going onto direct the surprisingly terrific Psycho II (1983) and then onto one of my personal favorite kiddie-films, Cloak and Dagger (1984), before sort of drifting away into TV directing, but he made some great movies along the way. Franklin's a director I feel should have went onto a more storied career, but as it is he had about a six year window of interesting stuff that I personally treasure, which is more than some. However, this lukewarm psychodrama doesn't do much for me, Radha Mitchell does what she can with the material, struggling with her inner demons and talking to her house cat who speaks back to her makes for a somewhat interesting watch, but the story just isn't there, at least not onscreen. Notably, the script was written by someone with his own impressive Ozploitation pedigree, Everette De Roche also wrote scripts for Long Weekend (1978), Harlequin (1980) and Razorback (1984), in addition to Road Games and Patrick, which were directed by Franklin, though unfortunately this re-teaming did not add up to success, proving to be Franklin's final project before his death.  

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