Visiting Hours

As much as I enjoy the freeform jazz standard, "Fuck the Police," there is something to be said for law enforcement. I'll give you an example. If you know that there is a psychopath at your house, and you know that he has your daughter, it's safe to say that a cop would come in handy (provided that the cop is packin' heat, yo). So you call 911. Reinforcements arrive. This is common sense, right? You would think. And yet, every petite blonde in a slasher attempts to demobilize a knife-wielding madman on her own. Ah, yes. That inbred necrophiliac will be bamboozled by Stacy's bantam frame of 103 pounds.

Look, I understand that most horror films wouldn't exist if the characters made sensible decisions, but Visiting Hours takes "The Stupid Heroine" to another level. The third act hinges on an endearing nurse named Sheila being a few peas short of a casserole. Mercifully, insufferable leads don't spoil the product as a whole. If you'll notice, I gave this flick a gracious rating. Why did I begin by focusing on the negatives? Fuck if I know. These things tend to write themselves. The fact is, Visiting Hours is a sleek, startling motion picture that follows in the lurid footsteps of other "hospital horror" romps such as Halloween II and The Hospital.

Deborah is an anchorwoman who inadvertently stirs up a great deal of shit when she weighs in on a controversial court case. She speaks out in support of a woman who murdered her abusive husband in self-defense. This offhand spate of social commentary doesn't sit well with Colt, a misogynistic crackpot who takes it upon himself to stalk Deborah and kill everyone around her. Michael Ironside gives a chilling performance as the stoic heavy. The man was born to play evil motherfuckers. Lee Grant is solid as Deborah, but it's Linda Purl who serves as the film's emotional center. Surprisingly, the script does a terrific job of balancing two main characters. It doesn't hurt that Purl is cuter than a slice of cutie pie.

The suspense is taut. The violence is gritty and realistic, although I wouldn't call Visiting Hours a gorefest. To be honest, it didn't need buckets of blood to keep my eyes open. Of course, there are lapses in logic that I feel compelled to bitch about. Colt wouldn't be able to get away with snuffing out patients in an actual hospital. As soon as a person's vital signs begin to drop, nurses gather at the corresponding room. I had the same complaint after watching Million Dollar Baby. Maybe that kind of stuff doesn't bother you, but it bothers me. Because I'm an uppity dick. Regardless, I dug Visiting Hours. It's definitely worth a Quikster...I mean, Netflix rental.

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