Doesn’t life have such a twisted way of presenting random occurrences? You have a great idea, but it just so happens to be a day that does work at all for it. You have plans but something random comes up completely out of your control that just throws things for a loop. Sometimes these occurrences can get a little bit more dangerous than just some inconveniences. That is the crux of this new thriller, The Surprise Visit.
What is the story? Hugh is a respectable man who works for a wealthy woman. He has a good job and treats his boss with appreciation. But one day, his drug addict son, Casey, shows up desperate. His lady Annabelle is pregnant, and he needs money. His father is not trusting, and Casey decides to make a bigger play. When the woman of the house goes away for a few days, Casey and Annabelle decide to rob the place. But what is the issue? Mrs. Dixon’s daughter (Juliette) and her husband make a surprise visit. When their night is over because it is deadly and dangerous, Juliette finds herself captured then on the run from this desperate couple. Is that it? I guess that is for now. I wouldn’t want to ruin any more of the story.
Does it sound interesting enough? The set up might sound messy but most of the film plays out with familiar beats. The torture scenes and (later) the cat-and-mouse scenes are standard affair for this genre. When you get through this film, there will not be a lot of fresh thrills to enjoy. You have seen these beats before and experienced them plenty of times. But what is even worse is this film does not leave you with a satisfying ending. The plot might be similar but by the end, you just feel confused why this even existed. BUT then…the final scene. It is so tonally awkward and feels so ridiculous compared to the rest of the film. It makes me almost hate this film so much.
Besides Eric Roberts, does the rest of the hold up? Roberts is not always the standout in the film he pops up in, but he certainly is in The Surprise Visit. His character is genuine and earnest (even if he does not turn out to be too important to the over plot). Serah Henesey is solid in her role as the woman is kept captive and then goes on the run. She portrays the pain and anguish so well and handles the shift in power over the course of the film. But then there are Jacqi Vene and Rob Riordan. I don’t know if it was the acting, direction, or script but these two were almost unwatchable. It made us wish they would cut to Roberts doing random stuff because that was much easier to watch.
So…is it worth checking out this new thriller? If you like this genre and can just focus on the solid thrills throughout, this one might be worth your time. But honestly…you might want to turn it off with five minutes left.