Parents' Guide to

The Visitor (2022)

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Creepy graphic violence, drinking in clichéd horror movie.

Movie NR 2022 86 minutes
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This is a familiar twist on Southern Gothic horror that feels a little too familiar. The Visitor starts off with a common trope in horror movies: the stranger from the city going out to the country. In this case, Finn Jones plays a Londoner moving with his wife, Maia (played by Jessica McNamee), to the small town in the South where Maia grew up. Of course, it doesn't take long to see that the city slicker and his interactions with the locals are more disturbing than the expected "You ain't from around here, are you?" exchanges, and as the story unfolds, there are plenty of jump scares and "oh, that was just a nightmare" scenes to keep the audience engaged.

It's hard to pinpoint an exact reason why this doesn't quite work. Some of it is in the horror clichés, some of it is in a clunky second half of the movie, and some is a lack of exaggeration of the weird moments. There is one truly creepy and gory scene that works, but some of it isn't fully explained, and then it's like they try to paper over this with imagery implying biblical plagues or clichéd characters like the "obsessive conspiracy theorist investigator of the phenomenon who everyone else writes off as being deranged." The town itself doesn't really give off anything unsettling, and the main drag actually looks quite nice, like a good place to attend an outdoor art and craft fair rather than a haven for evil and what have you. Overall, it just doesn't work.

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