Director: Kevin Gruetert
Starring: Isla Fisher, Jim Parsons, Anson Mount
Release Date: 20th June 2016 (UK)
When you watch the trailer you will think Isla Fisher’s straight to DVD horror looks like nothing more than a cheap imitation of Rosemary’s Baby. No doubt Polanski’s masterpiece was an inspiration to the story, like any horror about pregnancy or demonic children owes something, though Visions made a worthy attempt to set up our expectations with a boringly predictable first act, only to take us in an intriguing new direction.
Eveleigh Maddox is expecting her first child with husband David, so they move to an awesome looking vineyard retreat to start a new life. The major perk, and one that would influence any of us to move to a vineyard community, is all the free wine you’d get as a housewarming, and not the cheap stuff either. Life was briefly good for the Maddoxes, until Eveleigh starts getting strange and progressively scarier visions.
As she becomes increasingly more paranoid about the health of her baby and the dangerous haunting of her new home, friends and family get worried. Enter doctor Jim Parsons who is the voice of reason in the narrative – the science and reason competing for Eveleigh’s attention against the inexplicable events in the house. What unfolds is a story which begins very conventionally, very deliberately, but holds back on a plot twist that makes this something a little bit different from the norm.
Fisher is adequate in the lead role, and though Visions felt like a vehicle to prove her leading credentials, she will always be more valuable in a supporting role. However, as far as straight to DVD horrors go it has quite the cast and quite the production value behind it, making it a great off-centre showpiece for a Saturday night in.
Beyond the plot twist, which was interesting though nothing sensational, Visions was a wholly conventional horror. The cinematography made full use of the light/dark contrast to build suspense, and of course there was a mirror that the demon was not revealed in – because this break of convention is now almost as conventional as the convention itself. The direction was adequate and as an audience it wasn’t distracting which is pretty much all we ask for, though to sum this film up in a word: ok.
Don’t let this dissuade you though. Some horrors, including The Witch, are making a real effort to add narrative value, which does make it a more impressive film but may not be what you expect from a traditional horror. Visions delivers what it says on the tin and makes for a satisfying choice of horror.