Miami Herald, The (FL) - May 31, 1982

Author: BILL COSFORD Herald Movie Critic

The slash-and-splatter genre marches on. Though on all sides film-industry types are observing sagely that the wave of psycho-on-the-loose films is finished, an even larger number of
filmmakers seems to be stubbornly at work on just this type of film, and an impressive number of hungry teens seems willing to stand in line to see the results. In the audience for Visiting Hours, there are seminars on the form: "It's like Halloween II, not as scary as Prom Night but better than Terror Train."

What's sure is that the movies are gradually covering the major walks of life in the search for splatter-plot backdrops. In Visiting Hours, it's a hospital that is under siege; coming up, we may assume, are psychos terrorizing a law office, a Ma Bell substation, a partnership of CPAs--there's not much else left. Wake us when they get to OPEC.

Visiting Hours is a two-year-old movie starring Lee Grant (once a legitimate actress) as a beleaguered TV-news reporter on a psycho's hit list. We can tell he's a psycho
because whenever we see him there is strange music, and he's always squeezing a black rubber ball compulsively, sure Freudian signs of sociopathological behavior.

We can tell as well that the filmmakers didn't really have their minds on what they were doing; the script should never have been released from intensive care. One moment the psycho is capering about the strangely deserted halls of the major urban hospital, the next he is seen hiding in the bushes off a suburban street; he scores a nurse in the early minutes, and though her body is discovered at once, her death is never mentioned again, and apparently the body is left, bedside in a semi-private, for the duration. Well, it's a big hospital.

William Shatner is seen from time to time in a role that is pure filler, while Grant emotes furiously ("My face. My face."). Linda Purl serves the plot much as chum serves a charter boat after shark. Not once is a frightened cat tossed onto one of the principals, however, which breaks a splatter- film streak that we had become rather excited about--this time it's a parrot, and it just isn't the same.

MOVIE REVIEW - VISITING HOURS (R) CAST: Lee Grant, William Shatner, Linda Purl, Michael Ironside. CREDITS: Director: Jean Claude Lord Producer: Brian Taggert Screenwriter: Claude Heroux Cinematographer: Rene Verzier Music: Jonathan Goldsmith A Twentieth Century-Fox release Vulgar language, violence.

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