Movie Review: The Visit
The Visit is the newest movie by M. Night Shyamalan, who wrote and directed such hits as The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. But also directed such flops as… pretty much everything else he has touched. This movie had a lot of things going against it for me. First off is that Shyamalan is attached which really does not get me excited. Second is that this is a found footage film, found footage has turned into a terrible gimmick that movies use to save money and try to add a greater fear factor to a terrible movie. In fact, the only found footage film I have ever thought was any good was Josh Trank‘s Chronicle.
All that being said, I still chose to see this movie after mostly positive reviews, it has a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time I type this. Here’s a quick review for the movie, it was just ok, not really good but not terrible. It was mildly entertaining and at times I really enjoyed myself. The found footage gimmick was not that bad as it is explained in the film and makes a bit of sense. One thing I will warn you is not to expect this as a typical horror movie because it really isn’t. My theater was full of laughter and almost no screaming, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing for this movie.
Let’s get specific, without spoilers of course. If you didn’t know this is a movie about two kids who are going to visit their grandparents for the first time ever. The 15-year-old daughter, Becca, is an aspiring film maker and is documenting everything to throw into a short film for their mother. The grandparent seems like nice people at first and the kids really love them, things start to get a little weird at nightfall as they are told not to leave their rooms after 9:30. Along with Becca is her 13-year-old brother Tyler, an aspiring rapper. Tyler is really supposed to be the comic relief character for this movie but really it seems everyone in this movie except Becca is comic relief. I’ll just get this out now and say this movie is not scary, and I really think it supposed to written that way. It’s actually pretty funny, but not like The Happening, it feels like it was written that way.
But this movie was marketed as a horror movie and at times does feel like they do legitimately try to scare you, only to make you laugh instead. The movie seems to not quite understand its tone sometimes, it goes from purposely funny to possibly trying to scare you but can’t quite pull it off. All the scares in this movie come from cheap jump scares, which I will admit there are only a handful of in this entire film.
The acting in this movie is actually some of the best I’ve seen from a horror movie in recent years. I know I said the scares weren’t frightening although that isn’t the fault of the actors but really is the problem of the writers. I really have to give special credit to Olivia DeJonge, who played Becca. She played the straight character throughout this entire movie and you can really feel her emotion. There is a secondary story line revolving around the kid’s dad and it really comes across through DeJonge’s character. Also have to give credit to Deanna Dunagan, who plays the grandmother. Nana is the character that is made to give you the spooks and at times she really delivers, simple scenes where she is sitting around and staring at nothing is actually scarier than the moments that were supposed to really scare you.
But we all watch Shyamalan’s movies for one thing, the twist. So how did that live up? Well I knew about this twist months ago, I had no intention of seeing this movie so when I heard from people who had an early screening I of course had to know the twist ending. It was one of the worst twists I have heard in any movie. It made no sense and didn’t really answer all the questions, in fact it just raised more questions. The movie itself almost pulls it off in a way that can almost be reasonable, it still left a lot of unanswered questions but not as many as I anticipated.
Check out the chart below for my final thoughts.