Over 15 years ago (yes 15 years ago and no I don’t know what happened to your life) there was a name that sent a shiver down your spine. His name rose to such heights that it was only inevitable that a downward spiral was drawing nearer every day. M. Night Shyamalan was the golden child of Hollywood; he was making movies like we hadn’t seen since the early days of Spielberg and Lucas. Then the train started to derail. First it was The Village, followed by Lady in the Water. Then came the most panned movie since Plan 9 From Outer Space, 2008’s The Happening.
After this, Night couldn’t find his feet again, he tried to move into big budget features like The Last Airbender and After Earth but things just kept getting worse. His name was removed from trailers and soon enough he was the new Uwe Bole (if you don’t know this name I highly recommend a quick Google). Night was looking for a rebirth, and locked onto the horror The Visit. So can Shyamalan still make a movie that contends with his original 3 features? We beg the question, is it any good?
Siblings, Becca and Tyler want to give their mother some free time with her new boyfriend, so rather than looking after themselves like normal teenagers they are forced to stay at their grandparent’s house for the week. Upon arrival something seems fishy, old Nanna is crawling around on all fours and scratching walls after 9:30pm, and while Pop Pop says everything is OK, things just keep getting worse.
First off, The Visit is a “found footage” style film, filled with handheld camerawork, breaking the 4th wall and dead pans to the camera. However unlike so many films that use this technique, The Visit finds an excuse to use the technique; a family documentary. You should also know that the movie’s two leads Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are literally the two most annoying teenagers in cinema history. Becca the 14 year old “director” of the film appears to have a master’s degree in English and Tyler is a self-proclaimed rapper whose beats are far from “mum’s spaghetti”, so much so that I was surprised the twist ending wasn’t Eminem slapping him in the face and simply saying “no”.
Made for a measly 10 million of Shyamalan’s own money The Visit was a pet project, a project for Night to say “Hey, I can still make a good film!”. And while that still has yet to be determined, it’s a great push in the right direction. If you wanted to see this because of the acting and or the script I wouldn’t recommend it, but 99% of you reading this want to see The Visit because it’s a horror movie about crazy grandparents putting kids in ovens. That’s where the movie shines, it’s truly terrifying, it builds and builds upon the suspense, so when the scares finally do come you’ll need to change your underwear and the person sitting next to you.
At face value The Visit works, it’s an original idea with a high level of suspense and thrills but delving into the movie over a period of time you’ll start to see the cracks. It’s a fun date film but I wouldn’t go into it expecting Kubrick.
THE VISIT is in cinemas now.