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Bill, Martha and their little child Hal are spending a quiet winter Sunday in their cosy house when they get an unexpected visit from Mike Nickerson and Tony Rodriguez. Mike and Tony are old acquaintances of Bill; a few years back, in Vietnam, they were in the same platoon. They also became opposed parties in a court martial - for a reason that Bill never explained to Martha. What happened in Vietnam, and what is the reason for the presence of Mike and Tony ? Written by
Eduardo Casais <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Untypical material for Kazan: this curiously amateurish amalgam of ACT OF VIOLENCE (1948) and THE DESPERATE HOURS (1955), updated for the Vietnam era, is unworthy of the director's unquestionable talent (despite being written by his own son!) and emerges as a pointless talking marathon - in which the dialogue is muffled most of the time anyway, because of poor sound recording!
Patricia Joyce comes off best from the hand-picked cast, which includes James Woods' debut role as the wimpish hero(!) and Steve Railsback as one of his two revenge-seeking war buddies; these actors must have thought that they had it made when they were chosen by Award-winning director Kazan (who had, after all, virtually discovered Marlon Brando, James Dean and Warren Beatty) to feature in his next movie but, unfortunately for them, THE VISITORS sank without trace despite being an official entry in that year's Cannes Film Festival!
While the film could easily have turned into a nasty shocker in the vein of THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) - which might even have been preferable in the long run - the story just meanders on towards a lame and inconclusive ending. At least, the film's snowy setting provides a nice pictorial backdrop...
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