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New in Theaters September 11: The Visit, The Perfect Guy, 90 Minutes in Heaven

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By Chris Kavan - 09/10/15 at 06:46 AM CT

Coming off two of the slowest weekends of the year, is there any hope that September can buck the trend and present us with some solid films? If the three new films opening up have anything to say... maybe. We have the one time king of twist endings presenting us with a comedic horror involving grandparents, a thriller with an all-star African-American cast and a faith-based drama looking to capitalize on War Room's success. It's a good mix, but we'll see if it's good enough to bring audiences out of their fall doldrums.

THE VISIT Let's face it, it has been rough going as of late for the one-time, red-hot M. Night Shyamalan. I won't even try to defend The Last Air Bender (one of the worst films in a long time) nor The Lady in the Water nor The Happening and certainly not After Earth. But here's the thing - maybe horror will bring him back. Hey, Wayward Pines wasn't Twin Peaks, but I was entertained by it (yes, there was kind of a twist, but it was expected). Maybe The Visit will get him back on track after years of going in the wrong direction. Granted, The Visit trailers make it seem all sorts of bizarre. A pair of siblings spending the weekend with their estranged grandparents (their mother ran away from home, and is now hoping to make amends) - greeted by "PopPop" and "Nana" what begins as a warm family reunion turns strange, then menacing then downright life-threatening as the two exhibit exceedingly freakish behavior. All of this is told in a type of "found-footage" style that has become a bit subdued as of late, but seems to fit the film. I'm not quite sold on this pulling Shyamalan out of the hole he has dug himself, but it does look interesting to say the least. Granted, trailers have fooled me before, so we'll see what the general consensus is like, but hopefully The Visit turns out better than his previous four efforts.

THE PERFECT GUY The Perfect Guy may be coming along at the perfect time. Featuring a strong, black cast led by Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, Morris Chestnut and Rutina Wesley the film looks not only to court African-American audiences but the story also looks to feature a strong, female lead to drive in women as well. WIth Straight Outta Compton winding down, it and no female-centric films at the box office, Perfect Guy could open very strongly. Once again, the fate depends on if the film's target audience shows up. I'm not that audience - but then the box office isn't determined by me, so I expect that The Perfect Guy could very much wind up not just in the top five, but perhaps much higher - even the top of the heap if it can impress its target audience.

90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN Before the success of The War Room, I would have said the chances of 90 Minutes in Heaven making any waves was pretty much non-existant. A film that could only hope to break into the top five. Now, however, I'm not so sure. Even though the cast looks a bit weak - Kate Bosworth and Hayden Christensen are the leads - and I doubt reviews will be strong, that doesn't seem to dissuade the faithful. Granted, this isn't quite in the same boat as War Room but it is similar enough that if the same people who supported that film support this one, it could turn out much better than how it looks on paper. But War Room is also still relatively fresh, so we'll see if the two competing films don't wind up hurting one another instead. Eh, I have zero interest in this one but it remains to be seen if Heaven can capitalize on War Room's audience.

This may be the most exciting weekend in a long time as all three films really have a chance to shine - but also to crash and burn spectacularly. If all three make it into the top five, that would be a big win in my eyes, but I think the chances of that happening are low. Likely only one (possibly two) will be able to call this weekend a win. I'll be back on Sunday with the results.


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