It’s been awhile since M. Night Shyamalan brought us something great. His last good movie, most would say is Signs, though some make a case for Lady in the Water. Since then he’s put out duds like The Happening, The Last Airbender and the not wholly terrible, but still not good After Earth. Over the years his name has become synonymous with twists and bad writing. So much so that a video went viral showing audience after audience laughing when his name came up in the trailer for The Devil. Needless to say he’s been in a bit of a rough patch and ever since seems to be slowly clawing his way out. I’m happy to report that The Visit, though not perfect, is a step in the right direction!
The Visit is a small budget found footage film about an estranged family being re-united. Actress Kathryn Hahn, known simply as “mom”, moved out of her parents home when she was young putting a rift between her and her parents that never healed. We join them 20 years later, her husband has left her and her two teenage children alone struggling to rebuild their lives. This gets Becca (Olivia DeJonge, Sisterhood of the Night) thinking, maybe she can re-unite her mom with her parents and they can have a family again. Becca sets out to do what every teenage girl with a vocabulary not attained by most adults would do, film a documentary with the purpose of re-uniting their family. Obvi… Together Becca and her brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould, Alexander And The Terrible No Good Very Bad Day) head to meet their grandparents for the first time. As you know from the trailer, things don’t go exactly as planned and the kids find themselves in peril at the hands of their grandparents.
As far as a good setup for a believable found footage movie, not bad!
I’ve seen a lot of horror movies in my day, honestly it’s one of my favorite genres, so my tolerance for scares and annoyance with cliche tropes is pretty high. For the reason many of the “creepy” moments in The Visit I found to from fear inducing. However, judging by my buddies reaction (burying his face in his short) and the verbose woman behind me yelling “Don’t you go in that room!” I think it’s safe to say this movie succeeds as a tension filled horror movie. At times though, that tension is undercut by the successful use of humor from Tyler’s character whether through his use of celebrity names as curse words or his “freestyle raps.” I’m all for a little laughter in the midst of tension, but when it’s overused it causes you to forget that you’re scared. Not great in a horror movie.
The acting is also somewhat of a mixed bag. Both of the children were engaging and likable and very easy to empathize with. The grandparents on the other hand felt a little wooden for my tastes, not terrible, but not great. That being said this is one of the better uses of found footage I’ve seen in a horror in awhile. The camera placements feel realistic and add to the documentary esque feel that Becca was going for. Not only that! The Visit answers the one question I want all found footage films to answer, who got ahold of this footage and released it. Hooray!
I would recommend The Visit for fans of tension filled movies with some mild horror elements. Though, horror fans might find themselves somewhat bored with this PG-13 scary-ish movie. It has decent acting, a great use of the found footage and was overall entertaining. Good on ya Mista Shyamalan! I am now looking forward to your next project!
Overall this movie is clean. Celebrity names are used in place of cuss words throughout most of the film keeping it mostly clean aside from a few in the beginning. There is also a scene were grandma’s full naked backside is seen. For a full content breakdown checkout the links below.