Drama, comedy and horror on your screens

Spare a thought for the recently deceased director Wes Craven. Almost single-handedly he pioneered the comedy/horror mini-genre. M. Night Shyamalan lends his talents to the hybrid in The Visit, a chilling tale of two children who go to on a trip to their psychologically-unhinged grandparents on a remote American farm. 

I would have been out of the house in a heartbeat but people in horror films always put masochism over common sense. They hang on, hardly discommoded by the ghoulish goings-on, even making a film of their experiences in true Blair Witch Project mode.

This being Shyamalan, there are surprises a-plenty. I left the cinema wondering why an angelic-looking girl would venture into the basement of her psychotic grandparents (or are they?) in search of dead bodies. This is The Sixth Sense lite. Shyamalan isn’t the director he used to be.

Those of you with a more delicate disposition might prefer Life, which deals with a photo shoot of cinema legend James Dean undertaken by a photographer called Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) who becomes fascinated by Dean’s disenchantment with Hollywood’s shoddy value system. Ben Kingsley plays producer Jack Warner.

99 Homes is a moral fable chronicling the reverse of fortune which sees a conscientious construction worker evicted from his home by a tough real estate broker. Afterwards, in the film’s central irony, he finds himself working for this very man and presented with the scenario of evicting others in the same callous way as he was. 

The Intern is yet another Robert de Niro comedy. This time he’s a widower who gets bored with retirement and goes back working at an online fashion site presided over by Anne Hathaway. 

You might be put off Miss You Already by the title. (This American expression is almost as irritating as the similarly over-used ‘have a nice day’). It deals with two women (Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore) who’ve been friends “forever”. They undergo a sea-change in their relationship when one of them decides to have a baby and the other finds she has cancer. 

Collette used to be one of my favourite actresses but (like Robert de Niro?) she’s making too many films these days. (I recently brought a clutch of DVDs in Xtravision only to discover she was in three of them. This was in a random selection). That's not to debunk the quality of Miss You Already but you can have too much of a good thing.  

Richard Burton once said:  “I’ve made the most unutterable rubbish just to have somewhere to go in the morning.” That might have been fine for him to get him through the day but did he ever consider his fans?