1. The Visit (Universal, 3,068 Theaters, 94, Minutes, Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including terror, violence and some nudity, and for brief language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 63% Fresh [100 reviews]): Ah, M. Night Shyamalan. He used to be the master of subtle horror, then lost his way. He is definitely in need of a career revival, and going in the decidedly unsubtle ways of conventional horror is a new start for him. But is it a good one?
Rebecca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are sent to spend the week with their grandparents (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) in a rural Pennsylvanian town. The kids are greeted with warmth and love, but are given one strict rule–no leaving their rooms after 9:30. Naturally, the kids hear sounds after that deadline and go to investigate. They find out that grandpa and grandma aren’t what they seem. They are something far more sinister…and deadly.
While the film taps into the real life fear of anyone who has elderly parents that they will change, be it by a mental or physical malady, into something unrecognizable. Any horror that has real world overtones works best. However, the trailer presents some of the situations the kids find themselves in as unbelievably corny. Your expectations as to what side the film skews to will rely on how much trust you have in Shyamalan.
2. The Perfect Guy (Sony/Screen Gems, 2,220 Theaters,100 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence, menace, sexuality and brief strong language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: N/A [Only 2 reviews available, and both were negative]): So, are creepy grandparents not to your liking? How about creepy ex-boyfriends?
Leah (Sanaa Lathan) has just gotten out of a long term relationship with Dave (Morris Chestnut) and is looking for someone new. Out of the blue, Carter (Michael Ealy) drops into her lap. At first, he appears to be the perfect guy–kind, chivalrous, devastatingly handsome and great in bed. However, Carter has a really big dark side, so big it causes Leah to break up the relationship. Unfortunately for her, Carter doesn’t want to let her go and…
…and well you can probably figure out the rest. This is the umpteenth variation on the Fatal Attraction trope, so by now you know Carter tortures Leah at first to get her back, then to make sure no one else can have her.
3, 90 Minutes in Heaven (Samuel Goldwyn, Wide Release,121 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense accident and injury images, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 25% Fresh [8 reviews]):Faith-based films appear to be on the upswing. TriStar’s War Room reached number one in its second week in release, and now we have another coming out this week. They are now even able to attract a higher quality version of has-been to be in the film (this one has both Anakin Skywalker and Lois Lane in it! Feel the star power!).
This is based on a true story of Pastor Don Piper who miraculously survived a devastating car accident with a semi. If that wasn’t enough of a miracle, Piper claims he was officially dead for 90 minutes, and he spent that hour and a half in Heaven, experiencing all the joy and beauty that place advertises.
His coming back from that kind of accident would be interesting enough without mentioning the whole going to Heaven part. One the one hand, that does act as satisfying the curiosity of the faithful as to what the afterlife holds, on the other, it opens up scrutiny from cynics (whose first question likely would be how a man can be dead for just a long time). So, the film might be an exercise in preaching to the converted than a recruitment tool to bring the sheep back into the fold.