"The Visit" Movie Review
I know what many of you are thinking. "Do I really want to take a chance on another movie made by M. Night Shyamalan?" The man hasn’t truly pulled it together since his breakout hit, The Sixth Sense. I kept the faith throughout many of his projects. I can’t say all of them were horrible, but they never lived up to his first commercial success. The last straw was his butchered attempt of capturing the true greatness of the Nickelodeon animated smash hit, "The Last Airbender". After that debacle I was positive that I had nothing left to give and I swore off of his movies for good.
At first glance, the trailer for “The Visit” did nothing to sway me from my initial thoughts of Shyamalan abstinence. If anything, when I realized he directed this film in the overused method of the found footage genre my eyes couldn’t roll hard enough. I watched the full trailer with my resting bitch face firmly in place. Don’t get me wrong, the movie actually looked creepily interesting, but taking that leap of faith once you’ve been burnt so many times; I just couldn’t.
Now you might be thinking "How the heck are you doing a review of a movie if you haven’t actually watched it?". Well of course I watched it, but not totally on propose. See what happened was… I went to watch another scary movie, “Crimson Peak” but I had the times wrong. With patience not being one of my virtues I picked the only other scary movie available, and I’m so happy I did!
Shyamalan's back to basics approach was refreshing and truly terrifying as well as seriously funny. I don’t think I have laughed with a scary movie as much as I did with this one. Sure, I’ve a laughed at (at being the key word here) many of them for their ridiculous antics and situations. However, the majority of this film felt wholly possible, which brought up the “chilling quality” a couple of notches. And the film-it-yourself footage even fit the premise of the story and added an extra layer of truth to it without becoming contrived as many other movies have become (Cough, cough, Paranormal Activity movies...).
The premise of the film has Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and younger brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) say goodbye to their mother and board a train to meet their mother’s parents for the first time. The grandparents’ farm, located in the countryside deep in Pennsylvania, set the eerie tone. The seemingly doting elderly couple, Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie), welcomes the children into their lives with open arms. By all appearances everything thing looks super peachy until the siblings start to notice increasingly strange behavior from the pleasant couple. Once the children discover a shocking secret, they begin to wonder if they'll ever make it back to their mother at all.
The cast was all chosen perfectly for their parts. I would have to say I only had one character that caused me some grief, the daughter. She was the stick in the mud type, but still the motive that M. Night Shyamalan gave her for being so was heartfelt and mostly believable. My favorite character hands down was the brother. His mischievous nature mixed with his natural good vibes made for a very likeable character. Even though the mother’s part is minimal, her part concreted the loving family I knew they were (Mother & children). That in itself was impressive. So often we see the stereotype of true family bliss only belonging to the families that have a mommy and a daddy. I really liked the loving dynamic they shared with each other while staying true to the issues of single parenting.
On the other hand, the grandparents did their jobs as well. Nana and Pop Pop made the geriatric community a horror contender and not only for the reason that getting old is scary. My mouth would’ve been left wide open if I was put in the middle of some of the moments in the film and I’m a nurse with experience of helping the elderly in their later stages of life. Let’s just say I’ll never look at sundowning in the same way thanks to Shyamalan. No really thank you.
It gave the older community their bite back, no pun intended. Which in a crazy way should give that same community a sense of pride. It’s a compliment when Nana and Pop Pop can hold their own in the realm of ghosts and demons.
The director uses the art of misdirection and layering of characters expertly. There aren’t many movies that fool me as long as this one did. We all know Shyamalan’s love of the twist. So much that it left some of his movies hobbling along with these crazy, far out “what a twist” moments that made me want to curse… Katy Perry (You’ll have to watch the movie to get that joke).
However his fresh and simple antics kept me firmly in the dark and happily surprised.
I may still be slightly gun shy when it comes to M. Night Shyamalan’s movies in the future, but he has once again piqued my curiosity when it comes to his artistic vision. The acting, direction, story, and overall movie was great and a must see! Please, for the love of all that's holy, keep up the great work Shyamalan.
Happy Saturday everyone!