Director: M. Knight Shyamalan
Stars: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn
Two children are sent to their grandparents’ house to spend time with them while their mother gets a much-needed trip. Becca (DeJonge) is an aspiring filmmaker and so takes the opportunity to catalogue the experience on film, hoping to capture some footage that will allow her mother and grandparents to repair the broken bridge between them. However, after witnessing some strange behaviour the kids start thinking that something might be wrong.
Obviously Shyamalan’s name is poison to many filmgoers but I’d suggest you take a chance on The Visit because I was very impressed. Found footage has been done a lot over the past few years but it’s used well here, and Shyamalan uses the vehicle to poke some fun at the genre. It is a horror, but there are moments of levity, and these help to spread out the tension. It is a very tense film with mostly standard, but effective, horror techniques. I found myself jumping a fair bit.
The acting is of a high quality. DeJonge is the standout and I predict big things for her. Oxenbould suffers from a character that has some annoying traits (there’s far too much rapping and the joke wears thin in about thirty seconds) but the young actor manages to make him likeable, and shows some explosive power towards the end of the film. The older duo seem to be having fun with their roles, and Hahn ties it altogether nicely.
Since it is a Shyamalan film there is a twist, but it’s one that works with the film and is organic unlike some of the twists in his other films that I won’t mention here. Having said that I felt that it was pretty obvious what was going on and guessed the twist within about five minutes. However, from a quick read on IMDB it seems that many people found it a surprise. Either way, I didn’t feel that predicting the twist affected my enjoyment of the film and it’s not a film that relies on the twist to be interesting.
It also goes a little deeper than a lot of horror movies and shows the psychological layers that can manifest fear. Both children have emotional scars from the divorce of their parents, and it’s interesting to see how these come into play during the climax of the film. The music is good as well and used to foreshadow certain things. Honestly, this film is really good and it’s a return to form for Shyamalan. It’s tense, creepy, with good performances all around. More like this please!