Daily Archives: May 6, 2013

Visiting Hours (1982)

visiting hours 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: He doesn’t like women.

Deborah Ballin (Lee Grant) is an outspoken reporter who does a news segment dealing with domestic violence that angers misogynist Colt (Michael Ironside). For revenge he attacks her inside her home, but she manages to escape and gets treated at the local hospital. Unfortunately the psychotic Colt continues to stalk her inside the hospital, which causes her, other patients and the hospital staff to fear for their lives.

The script is predictable and unimaginative. It sticks to the tired 80’s slasher formula like it is a religion. The set-up is awkward and rushed while the rest of the film dealing with Colt’s perpetual stalking becomes prolonged and redundant. The scares lack excitement and the frights are non-existent. The only potentially interesting part that could’ve allowed this film to really stand out is when Deborah is taken into the operating room and put under anesthesia and thinks that the surgeon arriving to do the operation is Colt in disguise. The film teases the viewer with this possibility, but then chickens out.

The only novelty is having a 55-year-old actress as the heroine as opposed to the youthful, virginal looking types that get cast in these things in-part because of their screaming abilities. Having Grant playing a self-assured, confident character is refreshing change of pace for the genre, but then the film compromises even this by having Deborah’s young nurse played by Linda Purl become the target of Colt’s evil rage and by the end it’s Purl who has the most screen time.

Ironside is a competent actor and it is no surprise that he would be cast in the role of a killer due to his menacing facial features. He is talented enough to make the scenes he is in interesting despite the fact that he says less than 15 words during the whole film. Still the cutaways showing the reason for his mental illness being due to him witnessing as a child his mother throwing boiling water on his father is hooky. Also having him wear a small bell around his neck that rings every time he moves if awfully stupid for a person with a habit of stalking people.

The film has a similar concept to Halloween II that also dealt with a killer stalking a victim while inside a hospital, but here at least they use an actual hospital that is lighted the way a real hospital should be. The foot chase between Grant and Ironside that has them going to all areas of the building reminded me a little of the chase between Genvieve Bujold and Lance LeGault in the film Coma although that one is still far superior to the one here.

There are few mildly intense moments at the end that helps save this from being a complete boring waste, but still does little to make up for the rest of it that falls flat. Oh yeah, William Shatner also appears here in a pointless and dull role as Deborah’s boss.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: May 21, 1982

Runtime: 1Hour 43Minutes

Rated R

Director: Jean-Claude Lord

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: DVD