Horror works in many different forms, but short form may be one of the best. Even in the worst horror movies, there are fantastic scenes that can be appreciated. This leads to the short form horror genre, which are usually just a few scenes of excellent horror.
The Visitant is not only a good example of a good short horror film, but a good example of short film in general. Amy Smart is wonderfully crazy and pretty much is the sole player in the flick. Doug Jones plays some sort of demon, which is one of the weaker points of the film (the CGI is a little off those scenes); but it doesn’t hurt the story at all.
Because this is a short, this is going to be chop full of spoilers, so I highly suggest watching before continuing reading… I’ll even embed it for you:
If you have chosen not to watch it and don’t care for spoilers, read on!
Amy Smart’s character wakes up in the middle of the morning to her daughter, Jill, who just creepily entered the room, jumping in bed with her. After realizing her daughter did not wet the bed, but instead has been attacked, she leaves her bedroom to find her other daughter, Katie. Walking through the hallway, she notices bloody footprints in the hallway, strange noises, and scratched up walls, floors, and doors.
Thus far, the suspense is fantastic, and what is some foreshadowing, Amy Smart creepily enters her daughters room, holding the knife. Imagine if her daughter woke up to that image? “Um. Mom… what are you doing with that knife?”
This is where the CGI comes into play… something is off about it, but the demon looks incredible and is scary. Incredible sound effects. Once the demon turns his attention to the sleeping daughter, mom goes into full on “mom” mode, doing what any parent would do– protect their young. But, as we soon find out, Amy Smart is either dreaming/sleep walking and/or hallucinating. Her daughter, Jill, breaks her of it, or at least the audience, and we see that something’s not right… in fact Jill is worried about “it” happening again. Does mom see the demon? Does she see the child as the demon? Is mom just crazy? Probably all three.
It seems like mom is mainly crazy, as her daughter tries to get a pill. Mom still sees the demon trying to get her daughter as she desperately begs for the door to be opened.
What I love about this is the discussion this short can create. What exactly is going on? Is mom seeing things because she’s crazy? That demon doesn’t exist? Or, does mom see the demon and no one else can? Did the demon kill her husband and other daughter? Or did mom? An argument can be made from almost any angle.
The Visitant scored: ★★★★☆