M. Night Shyamalan
In “The Visit,” a pair of siblings named Becca (DeJonge) and Tyler (Oxenbould) are sent by their mother (Hahn) to visit their grandparents they’ve never met. While doing so, Becca decides to film the visit to create a documentary. Upon meeting the two grandparents, played by Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie, the brother and sister find them to be nice and welcoming.
This begins to change, though, when the grandparents begin exhibiting odd behavior and eventually start acting somewhat threatening.
Let’s deal with the elephant in the room right away. Yes, M. Night Shyamalan’s last films such as “After Earth,” “The Last Airbender” and “The Happening” were all disasters and he hasn’t put out anything with real quality since “Signs” in 2002. With that said, “The Visit” might be the picture that gets the director on a better track.
It’s as if Shyamalan went back to more basic horror/thrillertropes for “The Visit” and was able to make a fun, creepy movie with an atmosphere similar to something audiences would likely see in the 1980s.
The only piece of the film that felt unnecessary was the found footage format. This seemed like a film where it could have just been shot normally and add a found footage element into certain scenes.
Surprises, or twists, are something that often appear in Shyamalan’s flicks and this one was certainly no exception. The one in “The Visit” has both pros and cons since the twist does work for the overall movie, but isn’t too big of a surprise.
Thankfully, the director took a step back from making the focus of his film be on the surprise and centered more attention on the chilling atmosphere while at the same time injecting some well placed humor.
In regards to the acting, everything works out fairly well. Dunagan and McRobbie both convincingly pull off the old, somewhat aloof and at times frightening older characters. The younger performers, Oxenbould and DeJounge also deserve credit for believably playing their parts as the protagonists of the picture.
“The Visit” isn’t a horror masterpiece nor is it a game changer. The twist isn’t very hard to figure out and the found footage didn’t exactly add anything. However, the performances and creepiness of the film make for a fun, entertaining time. High 3 out of 5.