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’The Visitor from the Future’ review: Dir. François Descraques [FrightFest]

The first night at Arrow Video FrightFest always has an interesting line-up. Thursday evening sees the festival open in a limited capacity, acting as a taster of what is still to come. Keen to highlight the range of genre content on offer, this opening programme of films is perhaps the most diverse of the festival. This year is no exception and the desire to tease the wild variety is likely how The Visitor from the Future landed a Thursday night slot.

The Visitor from the Future

Directed by François Descraques, The Visitor from the Future had another life. From 2009-2014 it was screened as a television show. Outside of France it’s hard to find any information about this series. With even the IMDB episode synopsis left empty, it’s impossible to say whether this film is a reworking or continuation of what has come before. One thing that can be confirmed however, is the involvement of Descraques in both incarnations, and the casting of several actors being the same.

The film begins on the night of a nuclear catastrophe. Determined to prevent a desolate future, Fox (Florent Dorin) travels through time and tries to help the scientists at the destabilised plant. It’s a high stakes start to the film, one that instantly grabs attention. The scene allows Descraques to set the juxtaposing styles. Although immediately wrapped in science-fiction clothing, Descraques quickly reveals the comedy hiding beneath. Much of the early laughs come from the miscommunication between the time-travelling visitor and the hapless scientists. It’s an early win for Descraques and the film and signposts plenty of fun to come.

Sadly the miscommunication between Fox and the scientists mean that his words go unheeded, and the deadly blast happens regardless. In need of a new plan to change the future Fox decides to next target the man responsible for the faulty building – Gilbert (Arnaud Decret). After accidentally kidnapping both Gilbert and his teenage daughter, Alice (Enya Baroux), Fox must find a way to convince his quarry from the past that they need to change the future. Time-travel films always present interesting ideas and The Visitor from the Future is no exception. Descraques’ film throws back to some of the best, The Terminator and Twelve Monkeys being prime examples whilst its inclusion of a zombie subplot opens it up to a wider horror audience. 

There’s something strangely eighties and nineties to the look and feel of the film, and those of us that grew up with Mad Max and Robocop will fall head over heels. It taps into that same brand of apocalyptic nostalgia that 2015’s Turbo Kid did, minus the excessive gore gags. The Visitor from the Future looks gorgeous. Easily as visually stunning as a feature triple the budget, Descraques and DP Matthieu Misiraca achieve some wondrous shots at modest cost. The rendering and attention to the apocalyptic wasteland is breathtaking. The landscape seems real, the validity of it helping ground the more silly moments of humour. A key part of the story revolves around an ever present radioactive / atomic cloud of death, which looks dangerous and beautiful in equal measure, threatening the end of times whilst looking luminescent and enticing. 

The Visitor from the Future

Whereas the visuals and the story sell the science-fiction elements, it is through the subplot and side characters that the comedy comes through. The zombies are those affected by radiation poisoning and are introduced as being ‘walking zombies’. Having something referred to as ‘walking’ alludes to a running variant, though they don’t manifest themselves here. The walking type are exactly the kind of zombie that we’ve grown up with and their inability to accurately pursue their prey causes amusement. Not from their lack of menace, but more from how characters find themselves trapped and in their path. The real comedy, though, is found within Fox and Co’s adversaries, the Time Patrol. The group of time police, who dress somewhere between Judge Dredd and Stormtroopers, are hilariously inept at their jobs. Their interactions conjure Power Ranger henchmen vibes and this makes them all the more endearing. 

A film that explores the ability to change for the better of oneself and those around them, there’s a lot of depth hidden to be found here. Perhaps a scene or two too much with a slightly bloated climax, The Visitor from the Future is nonetheless sure to be a hit amongst Frightfest fans. Descraques’ film has something for everyone and is a perfect introduction to this year’s FrightFest. Descraques came here to party and everyone’s invited.

The Visitor from the Future

Kat Hughes

The Visitor from the Future


A genius blending of science-fiction and humour, The Visitor from the Future plays itself tone perfect.


The Visitor from the Future was reviewed at Arrow Video FrightFest 2022.

Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


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