Star – M Knight Shyamalan
Genre – Horror/Comedy
Run Time – 94 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – USA
Awards – 1 Win & 12 Nomination
Amazon – £3.98 DVD £8.99 Blue Ray
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After M Knight Shymalan’s disastrous horror film ‘The Happening’ (2008) and the rather disliked Lady in the Water (2006) dumped the director’s reputation on the floor like a WWF bodyslam, and then the studio films The Last Airbender (2010) and Will Smiths family affair Sci Fi After Earth (2013) also bombed, The Visit (2015) was deemed a decent enough to be acclaimed his comeback movie. The Village (2004) was another one that drew grumbles. Not everyone is fan of the maverick Indian director and often mocked for his spectacular twists, known as the ‘closing cringe’, in those same critic’s circles. But let’s not forget this is the guy who bought us The Sixth Sense (1999), Signs (2002) and Unbreakable (2000). Like most great bands, the first few albums are the always the best.
• Olivia DeJonge as Becca
• Ed Oxenbould as Tyler
• Kathryn Hahn as Loretta Jamison, Becca and Tyler's mother
• Deanna Dunagan as Maria Bella Jamison (Claire), also known as "Nana"
• Peter McRobbie as Frederick Spencer Jamison, also known as "Pop Pop"
• Benjamin Kanes as Corin, Becca and Tyler's father
• Celia Keenan-Bolger as Stacey
15-year-old Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and 13-year-old brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are being packed off to their maternal grandparents on the train for a long holiday weekend so their divorced mother, Loretta Jamison (Kathryn Hahn), can enjoy a cruise with her new boyfriend. The kids have never met their grandparents but intend to film a documentary about their visit to show mom. Mom reveals that she has not spoken to her parents in fifteen years after having married her substitute high-school teacher, of whom her parents disapproved, but after ten years he left her for another woman. Mom tells the kids little about the bad blood that led to their estrangement, hinting that they ask, themselves, for the details instead and include it in the film.
Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and pop (Peter McRobbie) are there to meet them at the station after mom waved them off from back in Philadelphia. At the isolated rural farmhouse, Becca and Tyler are instructed to never go into the basement because it contains toxic mold, and bedtime is 9:30 p.m.
Kids being kids, and with a camera, an hour past curfew, venture downstairs for something to eat and sees Nana projectile vomiting, freaking out Becca some. The nest day Pop dismisses it as Nana having a stomach bug. He gently reminds the kids not to leave the room after 9:30.
Over the next few days, Becca and Tyler notice their grandparents exhibiting stranger, sometimes frightening behavior but great stuff for their home movie, Pop and Nan all but howling at the moon. The tension rises when Becca asks Nana about what happened the day Loretta left home, Nana beginning to shake and scream uncontrollable.
The kids notice Pop and Nana, through the bedroom window, are later confronted by a woman (Celia Keenan-Bolger); she goes into the backyard with them but is never seen leaving. Tyler, concerned about the occurrences and the fact the ladies car is still there, decides to secretly film what happens downstairs at night. Alas, Nana discovers the hidden camera, retrieves a large knife, and tries to break into the children's locked bedroom. When Becca and Tyler view the camera footage they Skype mom to say come and get us as we want to go home fast!
After those misfires this film was considered M Knight Shyamalan’s comeback by quite a few critics. It did an impressive $100m from its $5 million budget. There is no doubt this guy can make movies but he likes to make his movies and not necessarily the ones the studios like. But I don’t think The Visit does put him back on top as it was all rather samey in the horror ‘found footage’ genre. If this was from a first time director I can understand its good write ups but it wasn’t and when the M Knight perfunctory twist comes you are thinking really, is that it. All this for that?
It starts off OK as Knight has his first dabble at found footage although not a found footage movie in the truest sense as there is no real need to find the footage. Its not scary or mysterious and the comedy ethereal rather than funny. The actors are all very fine and move the film along at a decent whack but by half-way you feel it needed a big macabre finish to be worth your time and it just doesn’t happen. Like I said. This guy makes movies for himself.
I don’t care what the critics say. This is a run of the mill – be it slightly quirky- horror story. You are not scared, freaked out or impressed by this. I think the critics just wanted to be positive about a director they used to like. Hollywood needs fresh and different directors like this guy but we, the audience, want an entertaining movie in the process. Horror fans will appreciate the nuance here of the gentle scares but not for me. Try again M Knight Shyamalan.
Imdb.com – 6.2/10.0 (80,234votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 64% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 55% critic’s approval
Blue Ray was the cheaper option and so why not? It’s the type of movie that Blue Ray doesn’t do any harm but not enough claret to brig out the red here. Sound quality is good and the countryside greens and browns enhanced here. Hi - Def, of course brings out the actors wrinkles but it also makes facial prosthetics looking exposed, as is the case for he actress playing the older lady.
Quite a few that could have done being in the movie.
-Behind the Scenes-
Pretentious stuff from the director - and ‘just happy to be working’ stuff from the actors.
- Premier –
Red carpet stuff.
New Yorker –‘For all its intelligence and craft, M. Night Shyamalan's foray into the genre of found-footage horror has the feeling of homework done well’.
Independent –‘Shyamalan creates a creepy atmosphere and some of his shock tactics are effective. The Visit, though, is the kind of movie you expect from a first-timer searching for a voice, not someone with his experience’
The Delaware Times –‘[A] collection of jump scares [that lasts] until everyone arrives at [Shyamalan's] trademarked final twist (also called, in more recent times, the closing cringe)’.
The Sun –‘There is definitely a lot to appreciate in this creepy little number, however, if you're not a fan of this particular sub-genre, then you're probably better off looking for your frights elsewhere’
Baltimore Times –‘Here, [Shyamalan] loosened up, shed some of his ego, and reminded all of us what a gifted writer and director he truly is’.
Globe & Mail –‘I hear Hollywood whispers. I feel something is amiss. I see dead directorial reputations. And I smell a comeback’.
New York Times –‘The director M. Night Shyamalan has a fine eye and a nice, natural way with actors, and he has a talent for gently rap-rap-rapping on your nerves’.