Film Review: The Visit

 

The-Visit-poster copyBecca and Tyler are two young teens who have never met their mother’s parents due to their mother being estranged from them. When the grandparents reach out to the mother via the internet and request she send Becca and Tyler to visit them for five days, the mother begrudgingly agrees. Once Becca and Tyler arrive, they are told that bedtime is at 9:30pm sharp and they find that to be odd. Little do Becca and Tyler know that the early bedtime will be the least of their grandparent’s growing eccentricities as mood swings, erratic behavior and possible ill intent become the ever-increasing norm in the household. Becca has been videoing every moment of their visit for a documentary about she and her brother forging a relationship with their grandparents. Tyler and Becca begin to piece together a frightening pattern of disturbing behavior and fear that they may not make it to the end of their five day visit.

M. Night Shyamalan may finally be pulling himself out of his slump with The Visit. While it’s not perfect and gets a bit predictable at times, I had fun watching The Visit with a packed audience. The film’s premise works while the conceit that the granddaughter wants to record everything for her own documentary never seems like a gimmick and fits with the development of her character. The characters themselves are all fairly well written and believable in their progression. The story itself is interesting, but gets clunky at times when you can start to sense what’s coming next.

The Visit went over great with the crowd I saw it with; there were plenty of well-played jump scares and an abundance of creepy atmosphere along with a surprising amount of welcome laughs. I would definitely recommend The Visit to horror fans and general film fans looking to kick start the Halloween season with something fun and scary, but not overly gory. I have to think that taking on a lower budgeted project and working with Blumhouse Productions really helped to get Shyamalan back to the basics of good storytelling. I think this is his best film since Signs and I hope this upswing continues.

The Visit (2015); Director: M. Night Shyamalan; Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dungan, Peter McRobbie

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