So why do we go to an M. Night Shyamalan movie?
When “The SIxth Sense” came out, everyone was stunned by the twist ending. It became his signature move. “The Village”, “Devil”, “Signs”, and “Unbreakable” were all decent stories that had some merit to them. “Lady in the Water”, and “The Happening” not so much.
“The Last Airbender”, and “After Earth” were departures from his usual fare.
So where does “The Visit” fall?
I am thinking it is going to fall into “Lady in the Water” territory. Some are going to like it and admire it as another Shyamalan signature movie and others are going to laugh at it.
For the record I have not seen “Lady in the Water.”
“The Visit” did make me think throughout the whole movie. It gave me the wrong thoughts though. My thoughts were…ok when is the twist? What kind of twist will it be? Are these two possessed? Demons? Aliens? Some weird being with yellow eyes? It is almost as if M. Night is playing with us. He has set a pattern and we will fall right into the game.
There are some attempts at spooking us. Typical pop up and say boo moments and honestly there was one of those that got me to jump. A different moment made another person jump. I heard him as he left the theater saying “Yeah that one got me.”
M. Night lets us know exactly what is happening though, he litters the movie with clues like he did with the Sixth Sense.
Adding the movie cameras and having the young filmmaker make a documentary was a nice touch. Unfortunately it was also a blatant rip off of “Blair Witch” style filmmaking. A lot of herky jerky movements and exposition.
There are some cute attempts to make you like the characters. The young boy, is a thorn in his sister’s side. Tyler, played by Ed Oxenbould is an obnoxious early teenager who aspires to be a rapper.
Becca, played by Olivia DeJonge, is a smart midteenage girl who knows a lot about filmmaking. Of course it helps that if a filmmaker writes her dialogue in that case. It also goes to show just how much the ability to record our everyday lives is becoming a common thing.
Both kids are struggling to deal with their father leaving them behind.
Tony award winner Deanna Dunagan plays the creepy Nana. Something strange happens to her at 9:30 PM every night. Is she possessed? is she a demon? Are aliens controlling her? is she an alien herself? all signs point to yes. Dunagan plays creepy and being out there very well.
Peter McRobbie plays Pop Pop, He seems to be the normal one of the two, concerned about his wife Sundowning, trying to ease the kid’s minds about her strange actions at night. What Tyler finds in the shed…well it is not a germaphobe’s most pleasant discovery. Pop Pop is far from normal, he has a train to catch and a costume party to go to.
At one point in the film, since the couple are mentioned as being counselors…wait…why does Becca choose Nana and Pop Pop to call her never before seen grandparents? I know those are real terms but to suddenly just pick those two out of the air…interesting choice of names for sure. Obscure yet also fitting for the pair now that I think about it. One of those “This just doesn’t fit” kind of clues that may have been dropped.
Back to the counselor role. Critical to the plot, at one point I honestly suspected that the couple were a sort of conduit for bad emotions. That the kids’ own pain was being channeled through the couple as a release of negative energy. That the residents of the small town who were so grateful to them had been strangely cleansed mentally by this odd old couple, and once they were healed, the couple were normal again. Boy was I wrong.
All in all it was OK. I would not run screaming out of the theater omigosh you gotta see this! I would not run screaming out of a theater to begin with. Let alone spitting out spoilers.
Can I recommend it? only as a guessing game. There is no real horror here, htere is no real story here either. However if you like the better Shyamalan movies, you might be disappointed. Join in the conversation after the JUMP!