Visitors: Special Edition (2003)

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Released 22-Oct-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Alexandra's Project, The Rage In Placid Lake
Trailer-Erskineville Kings, Japanese Story
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 86:26
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Franklin
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Radha Mitchell
Susannah York
Ray Barrett
Dominic Purcell
Tottie Goldsmith
Che Timmins
Christopher Kirby
Jan Friedl
Soula Alexander
Roberta Connelly
Michelle McClatchy
Diana Greentree
Bridgette Burton
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Nerida Tyson-Chew


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Producer/Director Richard Franklin is a veteran filmmaker both here in Australia and overseas. He is no stranger to the suspense genre, with early works including Patrick (1978) and Road Games (1981). He is also responsible for the best of the Psycho sequels, Psycho 2 (1983).

    Visitors is Richard Franklin's journey into confronting failed relationships and life-long fears, all brought to the surface by an episode of cabin fever. This version of the film is presented as a Special Edition, but I can assure you that there is nothing very special about this edition in terms of extras in particular. More about this later in the review.

    Georgia Perry (Radha Mitchell ) is on the final leg of a solo around the world sea voyage. The journey has the financial support of a cosmetic company, Monnè. The company's owner, Casey (Tottie Goldsmith), has also secured the naming rights to the yacht as part of the deal. The "Leander" becomes "Monnè" for the voyage, a practice considered bad luck among boat enthusiasts.

    The forty four foot yacht sits on flat water in open seas, waiting for a low pressure system to power the journey home. The rules for this kind of journey are simple; no engines can be used, and no other person can board the vessel. Georgia sits impatiently, with her cat, Taco, as her only company. The occasional radio conversation with seaman, Rob (Chris Kirby), or her boyfriend, Luke (Domenic Purcell), are her only human contacts.

    When she starts having conversations mentally with her cat, we discover Georgia is fast developing cabin fever. The cat's voice is really her own conscience talking to her, and sets in motion a relentless procession of bizarre hallucinations in various forms. Georgia's life-long fears and disappointments manifest themselves as apparitions, all too real and menacing to simply ignore.

    Georgia's neurotic mother, Carolyn (Susannah York), provides some genuinely chilling moments which are the best in the film. Other visitors include persistent pirates, oversized spiders and a more subdued visit from her crippled father, Bill (Ray Barrett).

    Flashback scenes are interwoven to give insight into the relationships in Georgia's life. This also helps give the viewer more of an insight into some of the ghostly visits.

    Visitors is a reasonable film, but it lacks any real atmosphere. There are too many shots of the yacht on dead water in heavy fog. Apart from being a little clichéd, it makes the scene look studio-bound. We need to be convinced Georgia is indeed alone and exposed in the open sea. Less fog and more empty horizons would have served the purpose much better.

    Performances are fine from all involved, especially  Radha Mitchell, who has the huge task of keeping us all convinced through these bizarre happenings. She may have succeeded, but unfortunately, overall the film doesn't quite make it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is of excellent quality.

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. This is the film's correct aspect ratio.

    The transfer is very sharp and clear for the most part. Some of the aforementioned fog scenes are a little soft, although this was probably deliberate on the filmmaker's part. Blacks and shadows were very good overall. Shadows held good detail, and there was no evidence of low level noise.

    Colours were very natural and clean. Although some colours were quite vibrant at times, oversaturation wasn't an issue.

    The transfer is free of MPEG artefacts. There were no problems with aliasing and edge enhancement caused no concern. Film artefacts were also virtually non-existent.

    There are no subtitles at all on this disc.

    This disc is single sided, dual layer, with the layer change placed perfectly at 75:10. I had to search hard to find it, as it is well placed in a fade to black.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio transfer is also excellent overall.

    There are two soundtracks available on the DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s), and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kb/s). Both are of excellent quality.

    Dialogue quality is excellent throughout, although there were quite frequent, but mostly minor, problems with audio sync. I noticed many instances through the film of lips not matching dialogue, but thankfully all were very brief in duration. Most instances were only marginal, but two annoying examples are at 34:46 and 79:46.

    The original music for the film was composed by Nerida Tyson-Chew. She has experience in composing for both film and television. Her most recent film score was for Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid. I found her score for Visitors to be an asset to the film. It was suitably haunting and eerie, but didn't overpower the action on screen.

    Surround activity was not what I was expecting. I expected a full surround assault, but found they were very well used to highlight suspenseful scenes. The vast majority of sound is concentrated at the front with random bursts from the rear. This worked very well, and added tension to particular scenes.

    The subwoofer was a minor player, but did add some nice bass to the music score. It was also used to enhance certain sound effects. One example is at 37:36, when Georgia fires a flare gun.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The menu is animated with small video grabs from the film, accompanied by some eerie music. The menu is also 16x9 enhanced and features Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Biographies - Cast and Crew

    Biographies for Radha Mitchell, Susannah York, Ray Barrett, Domenic Purcell, Tottie Goldsmith, Richard Franklin and the producer, Jennifer Hadden. All are text based, with no audio and a static screen.

Photo Gallery

    A slide show of twenty nondescript stills from the film.

Theatrical Trailer : Visitors (1:57)

    This is an outstanding trailer, presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is also 16x9 enhanced with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. If you are viewing the film for the first time, I recommend you watch this first.

More from Palace Films: Four trailers.

    Alexandra's Project (2:07) The Rage In Placid Lake (2:23) Erskineville Kings (2:33) Japanese Story (2:19)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   There is no Special Edition available of Visitors in Region 1. The standard version available in Region 1 has an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is pan and scan. It is a single sided, single layered disc, with a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack. No extras are mentioned at all for the R1 version. It does, however, have closed captioning and Spanish subtitles, which are missing from both Region 4 versions.

    The Region 4 Special Edition version is the clear winner here, with a superior PAL transfer, 2.35:1 aspect ratio, some extras and 16x9 enhancement.   

Summary

    Visitors: Special Edition is a reasonable enough film, with some genuinely creepy moments.

    The video and audio transfers are excellent overall, despite some minor problems.

    The lack of significant extras is a disappointment, especially when the packaging claims to be a Special Edition, and advertises some extras that aren't there.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Monday, January 17, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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