The Visitor: The Strangest Sci-Fi / Horror / Religious Film You'll Ever See

Marshall Lemon | 27 Nov 2014 12:00
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The Visitor then takes us to Atlanta, Georgia, where eight-year old Katy Collins is the latest descendant to manifest her powers. Katy, played by Paige Conner, is lifted wholesale from movies like The Omen, switching from adorably charming to destructive on a dime. During a basketball match, she causes the ball to literally explode just before the winning shot is thrown, presumably maiming the star player. She unscrews a fire escape from the side of a building using her mind to attack an enemy. On a few occasions, she even exhibits superhuman strength. The weirdest moment, however, is when she replaces her birthday gift (a glass bird) with a psychically-generated pistol, which she uses to casually paralyze her mother.

Katy's powers are all over the map, but used so inconsistently it's hard not to laugh at the results. The Visitor relies more on Conner's age and unpredictably to make Katy appear dangerous. While it's certainly a solid performance, it's less threatening than it is shocking, especially when she launches into profanity-filled speeches to show her dark side.

Detective Jake Durham: Now listen to me Katy, isn't there something you want to tell me?
Katy: Yeah. Go fuck yourself!

Admittedly, the shock value that hasn't aged well in an era where South Park is an iconic television series, but it'll probably get a few chuckles out of the audience nonetheless.

Her mother Barbara (played by Joanne Nail), takes the whole "my daughter paralyzed me" incident pretty well. The Visitor keeps flipping between letting Barbara acknowledge that Katy is evil, to downplaying the events and pretending nothing is wrong. She seems to intuit that Katy's abilities are genetic, and refuses to have additional children for that reason, but at no point does she actually confront Katy about it. Which is unfortunate, considering that by the end of the film, Barbara is The Visitor's most frequent torture victim. Within the last half of the film alone, she's beaten, choked, dragged up a set of stairs, kicked down the same stairs, and forcibly impregnated without anyone rushing to her defense.

And it's not like people aren't aware of what she's going through: Arriving to stop Katy is Jerzy Colsowicz, played by John Huston (director of The Maltese Falcon and The African Queen). Colsowicz is basically The Visitor's Christ figure, despite Jesus literally being a character, having arrived from a distant planet to take Katy back with him. The problem is, Colsowicz needs to wait for a vaguely sci-fi apparatus to be constructed before he can pull Katy from Earth, so he ends up observing her while doing little to stop her rampages. (At one point, Colsowicz even pretends to be an agency-assigned babysitter so he has the chance to interact with her directly, an idea that probably sounded less silly during pre-production than it appears.)

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