20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Martin Donovan, Edward Furlong, Kelly Lynch, Randy Travis
Based on the best-selling novel by Frank Peretti, "The Visitation" is a supernatural thriller with the slightest bit of horror element thrown in for good measure. Although I would not classify "The Visitation" as a bad movie, during the presentation I couldn't get past the really obvious television "movie-of-the-week" look and feel. Acting is passable and the story idea is decent, but the film has a certain cheapness to it and part of the problem is the poor quality of the CGI effects that expose "The Visitation" as a bit too sub-par for my liking. I don't feel that CGI makes or breaks a film, there are well made "B" films out there that sit on my favorites list. But for some reason, the delivery of "The Visitation" just felt a little too cheesy overall. If you read the book, you will probably be disappointed. If you are not expecting a whole heck of a lot, then you might just enjoy "The Visitation".
The sleepy, almost backwoods town of Antioch begins to experience some rather strange goings on when a would be prophet (Edward Furlong) arrives and starts offering his "healing" services. Its not long until word spreads and the townsfolk go wild at the thought of curing all that ails them. From a wheelchair bound shop keeper to a scarred teenager, everyone begins to attend these healing rituals with high hopes. While the towns religious leaders attempt to get a grasp on this charismatic stranger, the members of the town wonder if this young man is really a true messiah or if there is something more sinister behind his motivations. During one evening at the revival tent, a frightening twist envelops that leaves the would be believers in peril. Stepping up to confront the supposed prophet is an ex-minister who challenges him to expose his true plan for the citizens of Antioch, and there's nothing saintlike about it.
This so called prophet, played by Edward Furlong, who sports an almost comical look is yet another reason "The Visitation" fails. Attempting to take on a Jesus-like presence, Furlongs character reminded me more of an out-of-work grunge-style rocker, complete with thick long oily hair and the trademark plaid attire. Even his mannerism was a little odd, moving slow and acting as if he is completely stoned out of his mind! When he stood in front of his audience of disciples, he grasped the microphone in such a way that you couldn't help but feel as if he was going to burst out into a depression fueled song at any given moment. Really lame portrayal that did not work upon its execution.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment brings "The Visitation" to DVD in an anamorphically enhanced widescreen presentation, displaying an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Color saturation is rather impressive as is the deep rich black levels that showcase all of the evil detail associated with the story. There is no visual evidence of dust particles and the only issue noted with this transfer is the minor edge enhancement and ever-so-fine grain that becomes noticeable throughout the presentation. Otherwise, this is a good offering from Twentieth Century Fox.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound track provides a good mix and balance that highlights key suspense filled scenes with just the right amounts of added bass, with vocals that are reproduced to appear natural at all times. Considering the cheaper feel of the production, the sound presentation is quite pleasing.
The only added value material is a trailer for "End of the Spear", so basically there is nothing as far as special features is concerned.
I'm not trying to totally squash "The Visitation", but I seriously doubt that anyone would consider the material to warrant anything more than a single viewing. I would more than likely only recommend this film as a rental only.