When you’re not certain of what the hell is happening in a film at the 40 minute mark, there’s a big problem, and it likely stems from one of two hurdles: editing massacred the narrative, or the narrative is so damn murky there’s little chance of ever understanding what the hell is truly happening.
I think Night Visitor 2 may actually fall victim to both of those obstacles, as it never once makes for a smooth viewing, and it never seems entirely certain of what it wants to be, or what it wants us to believe it to be. The whole ordeal is a little bit perplexing.
The best I could describe this film would be to note that Paranormal Activity got together with Cabin in the Woods (without the monstrous finale of the latter) and made a baby that actually represents neither parent in the least.
Sounds like a strange assessment, right? Well, it’s true. A large bulk of the film focuses on a girl, filmed by numerus surveillance cameras, as she has some strange interactions with something invisible, and perhaps not of this earth. But all the while we’re busy focusing on this family and their troubled daughter, there’s a menacing agent (played by Michael Biehn himself) who seems to be frequently manipulating the family and their surroundings. When the film comes together in the final act, we’re left hanging a bit, no clear, definitive conclusion attached to the picture.
The performers are strong. We’ve got a believable family to focus on, and we’ve got a believable, even if a little… “off” psychic. The crew in front of the camera do a pretty good job of convincing us that trouble is right around the corner. The problem however, is that this group is on edge damn near immediately. It takes pops a few occurrences to be convinced that there’s some crazy business happening at home, but mom gets it right away, and it’s quite obvious that the eldest child, a daughter approaching her teen years, is the focal target.
Resolving conflicts seems to be a problem for the film. There are far more questions proposed as opposed to answered, and while we expect the narrative to backtrack and seal the circle, it doesn’t necessarily happen. It’s a bummer that speaks to a laziness in the writing department, but oversights are a part of human nature.
All in all Night Visitor 2 has some ambition and a little talent behind it. What should feel like an intricately woven tale, however, falls far short of any lofty expectations taken on after the initial boom of the introductory moments of the film. It happens. I’d love to tell you this one was a homerun, given my unbreakable support of Michael Biehn, but I’d be lying to you. The truth is, Night Visitor 2 doesn’t come close to meeting expectations… perhaps I need to seek out Night Visitor for a better understanding of what’s unraveling before my eyes.