Samantha pretends to be a psychic and fortune teller in order to pay the bills when she is unable to find any acting gigs. In her attempt to console a noticeably disheveled woman who believes she's being haunted by a demonic spirit, Samantha unwittingly becomes the next victim of this evil entity.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love supernatural movies. Even though it probably has one of the highest ratios of terrible movies out of any horror sub-genre, I still enjoy watching them. I've seen many supernatural movies and I will see many more but, at best, there are probably only a handful of titles that are genuinely good. Initially the poster art for "The Visitant" was a bit off putting but the trailer held promise and thankfully, it did deliver in some respectable ways.
Samantha is an out of work actress who pays her bills by pretending to be a fortune teller, and thanks to her acting background, she's able to pull off the ruse. She ends up helping the wrong client when a disheveled woman comes to Samantha speaking of being tormented by a ghost. Samantha, being the skeptic that she is, welcomes the spirit to posses her -- a decision she soon regrets when she returns home and starts experiencing unexplainable phenomenons. Lights flickering, doors opening and closing and even seeing apparitions. Samantha's skepticism fades as she soon believes the spirit is her recently deceased husband as the activity is not of a malevolent nature. Even though her spiritual friend warns her not to do it, when Samantha attempts direct contact with the ghost, she opens a door into a world of terror she won't be able to close.
The fundamental problem with supernatural horror movies is they are as basic and as clichéd as slashers are. They have the same scenarios, same formula and often use the same scares as all the others. However, they took a turn for the worse around the early noughties when it was decided that if you had ghosts in your movies, you had to see them all the time. Doesn't matter how, when or how often, you just had to see them so the audience would know that there are ghosts. Of course an image of a ghost appears and then you're slammed with a loud musical cue because, apparently, cheap jump-scares are the only kind of scares there are.
"The Visitant" broke free from a lot of these clichés which was probably one of the biggest positives about the movie. This is not a movie where a family moves into a new home, is terrorized by spirits (followed by lots of spooky ghost images and jump-scares) and is finished off with a happy ending -- "This house is clear," if you will. "The Visitant" reminded me a lot of one my personal favorites, "The Entity." Unfortunately it's nowhere near as scary as the "The Entity" but it follows some of the steps that made that movie effective. It's not about what you see but what you don't see. It creates an atmosphere -- it puts a chill in the air. You know something is haunting the character(s) but you're left anticipating what's going to occur and what exactly is the ghost.
Respectively, no answers and no back stories are given. "The Visitant" is about Samantha being terrorized by a demonic entity over a single night. So there isn't any needless exposition of a character trying to find answers or explain why it's happening, she's merely having to deal with it and we, the audience, are along for the ride. For me, that's what a supernatural movie should be. It's the fear of the unknown. You can fight off a masked maniac but what can you do with a ghost?
Don't be an asshole and make a "Ghostbusters" joke. That reference has long been worn out.
The plot point of Samantha believing the spirit could be her dead husband helped in providing an interest and and a grounding element to the character and story. It gave it a bit more something than merely a woman being scared by things that go bump in the night. Another trait of the Samantha character can become tiresome since she spends a great deal of time battling her own skepticism. It works for the story but it becomes repetitive: something happens, Samantha gets scared and then she reassures herself it's nothing. This constant back and fourth happens for most of the movie and it's understandable why it's in the story and movie for so long, but at the same time, it can cause some frustration.
I will admit it is hard for me to remain biased with a movie that's part of a sub-genre that I prefer. I can't help it; I love a good ghost story. So I know full well while I have praise for "The Visitant", it's not going to be a movie that works for everyone else because it is scaled back for a supernatural horror movie. With that being said, "The Visitant" does a lot right by showing restraint. There are some jump scares in the movie but it wants to be more about atmosphere -- it dwells on the unknown and the unseen and only gives the audience small tastes here and there. Something that's been missing from the sub-genre for a long time and what I appreciated the most with "The Visitant".