film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Surprise Visit 2022 * * * Stars


Idaho native Nick Lyon directs 2022's The Surprise Visit. A veteran of roughly 30 directorial credits, Lyon has done mostly shorts and TV movies. With "Visit", he gives the backwoods of Virginia, remote cabins, and dwelling mansions their swallowing due. His film is conventional until it turns dark as night. 

The Surprise Visit answers the question of what if Bennett Miller's cinematographer helm-ed a home invasion thriller that on the surface, feels like every other home invasion thriller in print. Look closer though because there are mitigating circumstances involved. 

The couple personas being invaded, don't actually live in the home because their rich mom lives there and she's out of town. Said couple is basically at the wrong place at the wrong time (ugh). The bad guy doing the invading is actually the dude whose father is the gardener of the house being broken into. Finally, the bad guy's girly pal is pregnant with his child so they need to get some moolah and hightail it to Mexico. Uh, did you get all that?

"Visit" reminded me of stuff like A Simple Plan, Breaking In, and Funny Games. It's not too bloody or too R rated but people sure do get hit over the head a lot. "No witnesses" seems to be a possible tagline and definite quote for the flick's 86-minute running time. When "Visit" ends in an upsetting and twisted manner, you'll probably get that whole "no witnesses" vibe in spades. It's all in the viewer interpretation (I mean isn't that usually the case?). 

The Surprise Visit stars Rob Riordan, Eric Roberts, and Serah Henesey. They give raw, disciplined performances in a movie designed to promote "bad things happening to good people". "Visit" is nasty and initially compact as it deals with themes of desperation, resentment, and despondency. It's not flashy, extravagant, or snuffed but it gets the job done. The fact that it's based on a true story won't matter whether you want to see it or not. Courtesy "visit". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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