Blockbluster: The Visit
Quick Summary: A brother and sister visit their grandparents whom they've never seen before. It's mostly good times, even if things are a little bit off. However, things continue to get more and more strange as the week goes on.
Genre: Horror / Comedy
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn.
Length: 94 minutes
Release Date: 2015-08-30 (Premiere), 2015-09-09 (UK), 2015-09-11 (USA)
More Info: IMDb
The Visit - Official Trailer (Minor Spoilers)
The Visit is being hailed by a lot of people as Shyamalan's return to form. Now, admittedly, I'm not familiar with his past work (though I'm aware of the general opinion on it), but I wouldn't personally go quite that far. While it's a good horror flick, it won't be making my year-end list (well, it might make my 2015 list, but it's been a pretty weak year, so that's more a testament to 2015's quality than anything else).
The movie focuses on Becca and Tyler, two siblings who are visiting their maternal grandparents. Said grandparents had a falling out with their daughter (the children's mother) before they were born, so this is the first time they've ever met them. Everyone is happy at first, the kids and grandparents are both thrilled to see each other, and all is well. They grandparents seem a little odd, but the kids write that off as them just being old people. Old people being weird is better than old people being cranky old cunts, so the kids decide to take what they can get. So they may smell funny and have a little dementia, at least they aren't screaming about how "back in my day!" (I may be projecting a bit)...
The kids decide to film their time visiting their grandparents, in hopes that showing it to their mother will help rectify the estranged relationship with her parents. Typical naive children, but what else do you expect from stupid little kids? What this means for us though is that this film is essentially found footage. I wasn't aware of this going into the film, and was at first dismayed to find out (I'm not generally a big fan of found footage). Thankfully it works out pretty well, as the camera is generally pretty steady and doesn't shake too badly for the most part. There were a few times I even managed to forget that it was found footage.
Being a horror film, it's of course aiming to be scary. However, I wouldn't really call the film scary, which is disappointing (though expected). It does manage to create an atmosphere of things feeling off for its duration, so that's a plus at least. Fortunately, the film doesn't rely on jump scares, featuring only two that I can recall. The film also incorporates some comedy to it. The quality of this varies from being at times amusing to cringeworthy. Not too surprising either given that the movie focuses on children and old people, who are the two worst kinds of people ever; and the funniest thing that could happen to them in a horror movie is horrific death and dismemberment, but alas, we are restricted to jokes instead.
Ew, old people and children that aren't dying horribly.
The film is paced pretty well, with things starting normally and slowly getting more and more off, before eventually taking a turn for the terrible. Being a Shyamalan movie, it of course has a twist. It's a twist I probably should have seen coming, but I didn't. I'm not sure how much of this is a testament to the film itself, and how much of it is me being terrible at seeing things coming. Either way, it works as a very effective twist.
The Visit isn't a shit-your-pants horror film, nor does it boast gut-splitting humour, but it does remain a pretty decent flick nonetheless.
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