The Surprise Visit

Sometimes there just isn’t an easy way out of a really bad situation.

Go ahead and get those happy thoughts out of your head.  The Surprise Visit is not based on a happy occasion.  Not at all.  This is a film full of many twists and violent turns as a routine robbery goes tits up and someone is murdered.  The fallout is drastic and unexpected, making this film a bit more interesting than the usual home invasion thriller.

"both shocking and starkly realized due to the talent assembled"

Starring Academy Award Nominee Eric Roberts, Dopestick’s Tricia Hawn, Rob Riordan, Jacqi Vene and Serah Henesey, director Nick Lyon’s intense, gritty and suspenseful thriller begins when two strung-out drug addicts find out that they are going to be having a baby.  Uh oh.  

That’s not the SURPRISE at the center of this jewel heist, though. 

Annabelle (Jaqui Vene) and Casey (Rob Riordan) are trapped in their own personal hell of drug addiction.  They are currently living in a busted up Winnebego under a bridge somewhere near Middleton, Virginia and are struggling to pay their phone bill.  Money has never been much of a concern for them as long as there are drugs to be consumed, it seems.  Somehow, they make it work.  

But, with the sudden revelation that Annabelle is pregnant, they are both going to have to change their ways.  Can Casey do it?

At least that is the hope as he goes out in search of another chance or, depending on your viewpoint of his situation, another sucker to squeeze.  This hope is captured elegantly in the sweeping cinematography from Nate Haban.  Don’t worry, though.  When it is time for the film to go dark and desperate, Haban’s lens is there to ratchet up the tension.  This is edge of your seat entertainment, after all, as attempts to get ahold of some jewelry goes sideways.  

You see, Casey makes promises to his dead mother and wants to be the man that is required in the situation, but there is a lot working against the couple.  Even Casey’s dad (Roberts) refuses Casey’s request for some money and a job.  Hugh, a gardener for a very rich woman, knows his son is a junkie and stands firm in his decision not to help him out . . . baby on the way or not.  Desperate for some greenbacks, Casey has an idea: he and Annabelle can rob his dad’s boss while she is away caring for her Aunt Kathy.The Surprise Visit

Based on a true story, The Surprise Visit takes a bit of a turn when Juliette (Serah Henesy), the rich woman’s daughter, takes her husband along with her to surprise her mother with a visit at the ranch the same weekend Casey plans to rob it.  

Except, as we have learned, Juliette’s mother isn’t there . . . which means the house that Casey and Annabelle want to rob WILL be inhabited.  I think you can see where this home invasion thriller is headed.  Blood will be had and, as accidental as it is, there will be stark consequences raining down in response to the events happening.  They will be swift and they will be final.  

But what will it mean for Casey and the life he had at the opening of the movie?  

Stephen Meier’s adaptation, based on a story by Nathan Cowles and Serah Henesy, is both shocking and starkly realized due to the talent assembled.  Full of solid performances from the cast, The Surprise Visit is definitely a shocker, keeping us on our toes.  White the film doesn’t do anything new with the sub-genre, it definitely delivers when it comes to SHOCK and AWE as a chase through the woods ends rather unexpectedly and twists the sharp-edged truth like a knife into our own guts.

The Surprise Visit premieres in theaters and on demand January 14 from Vertical Entertainment.

3/5 stars

 Film Details

The Surprise Visit

MPAA Rating: unrated.
86 mins
: Nick Lyon
Stephen Meier
Eric Roberts; Jacqi Vene; Serah Henesey
: Thriller
Based on a True Story.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Vertical Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 14, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: When a young couple makes a surprise visit to Mom, they get an even bigger surprise themselves from an old family friend who plans to steal Mom’s valuable jewelry while she is out of town. But when the“easy peasy” robbery goes wrong, resulting in the accidental death of the daughter’s husband, it forces the two young drug addicts to make a difficult decision; to abandon ship, or do the unthinkable.


The Surprise Visit