Visions is being called “Darkly Twisted” by Cryptic Rock. Darkly Twisted. They are some strong words. When I think of “Darkly Twisted” I think of a movie like The Conjuring 2 or It, I don’t think of a movie where the bird from Now You See Me walks around a vineyard for most of it and at times does birthing classes. You would think I’m exaggerating, but even with an incredibly short run time of 82 minutes, Visions still feels baggy.
Almost everything in Visions ultimately becomes irrelevant; we are given almost 10 characters in the first 15 minutes many of whom contribute little or nothing to the final act. I could pick out almost anyone but I’ll go for the most obvious in Jim Parsons. He plays Eveleigh (Isla Fisher)’s doctor. This is a character that is in no way needed to the overall story, everything he gives us could be summarized in a phone call between Eveleigh and an off-screen voice.
What I’ve got against Visions is that it goes for too many cheap tricks, with a shocking opening, surreal sequences that always lead to jump scares, and a twisty ending. Jump scares of course being the fart jokes of horror movies: they are obvious, sudden and, for only the most foolish of humans, effective. Every time Eve is left alone, she’ll see something scary. It’s a simple formula: solitude = ghosts.
But that isn’t Visions’ message. No, the film doesn’t go for something as profound as a comment on the human condition, that we are all isolated in our own worlds, dimly trying to see into the future to not repeat the mistakes of the past, while trying to salvage prosperity in the present. No. Vision’s message seems to simply be “Drugs are bad”. I’m no expert but did we really need to be told that once more?
It all comes down to this ridiculous idea that is thrust upon us in the movie called “Mommy Sense”. This is a kind of sixth sense that comes with being pregnant, and the natural instincts you have to protect your unborn child and yourself. It’s idiotic to put it mildly; however the entire movie hangs on the belief that this could be real. This whole premise is brought to us by Gillian Jacobs, whom most will know from Community. If you are going to have a stupid idea brought up in a film don’t use a comedy actress to do it, it’s like the sixth sense being explained by Eddie Murphy.
This film is quite content to be a middle of the ground horror for an hour, and then the ending happens. Now, I am not for a moment saying that the film is saved by its finale; what I am saying is that the ending is much stronger and more inventive than it has any justice in being. This mess of a movie all comes together in the final act and is revealed to be a symphony of chaos. Would I call it “darkly twisted”? No, would I call it exceptionally clever? Yes. This is proof that the whole can be so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s not even the big twist ending that’s clever, it’s how everything you’ve seen previously marries into it.
I think if someone asked me I would say I hated Gillian Jacobs, and Isla Fisher isn’t far behind her. It’s a shame that these are who we see for the larger percentage of the time in Visions. If we ignore both of them, the talent pool still isn’t brimming over. I mentioned previously it’s surreal to see Jim Parsons be anything but Sheldon, that’s not his fault, I appreciate an actor trying to reinvent himself, but when you are in such an iconic role for so long, randomly turning up as a sixth rate character in an average horror might not be the way forward. Other stars (and I use that term loosely) include Anson Mount (you know from Safe or Britney Spear’s Crossroads), Eva Longoria (from Desperate Housewives) and even Joanna Cassidy (from two real films in Blade Runner and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?). Visions succeeds in both using no one to their full potential and overusing everyone. Well done them.
Visions is a movie that for 60 minutes is a waste of time and then has 15 minutes of clever little ideas. If you have the patience then Visions will reward you, but it’s a long way to the finish line. One whole star in this review is for the ending alone.
Review by Robert Lucas
Visions is out now for home entertainment.