The Visit (2015)

3:23 PM

No One Loves You Like Your Grandparents
This review may contain slight spoilers
The Visit is directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs). The film stars Olivia DeJonge (Hiding, The Sisterhood of Night), Ed Oxenbould (Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Paper Planes), Peter McRobbie (Lincoln, Spider-Man 2), Deanna Dunagan (Have a Little Faith, Running Scared) and Kathryn Hahn (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, We're the Millers). "A single mother finds that things in her family's life go very wrong after her two young children visit their grandparents". The director of this film hasn't made a good film for years, is the time now or is that just wishful thinking?

I remember when I first watched the trailer for this film and me and my friends all thought it looked terrible - we laughed at certain moments that were meant to be taken seriously and we just thought it would definitely be one of the worst of the year. How wrong were we! I was pleasantly surprised by The Visit and thought it was a really fun and enjoyable horror-comedy film. In most areas, I can't really fault the film.

I really liked the story and set up for the film. I loved how the main character was a budding filmmaker and the actual film was basically her documentary. I thought this was quite nice and clever.  The story is full of twists and turns and Shyamalan is very good at setting up traps for both the audience and the characters - making them believe one thing whilst something completely different is occurring. I have to be honest, I did call both twists but that is only because I knew there were twists from reading about the film so I was looking out very closely for any hints or clues. The story is helped out a lot by a strongly written script. I think it is the scripts doing for these little traps and I think it is fantastic. 

What I like a lot about The Visit is that it is one of them films where even though you know the twist, you can actually look back and it all makes sense - it is one of them films that excites you when you learn a little bit more of information about the twist. After I watched the film, I watched Grace Randolph's spoiler review where she dissected the twist and I was fascinated - you can see clues, acting techniques, hints in the dialogue - its just script writing at its best! I could literally do a whole separate post on the films twist - I loved it that much!

I think I mention this in any found footage movie that I watch but I hate the genre with a passion but The Visit has to be an exception. I think its because the whole film was very similar to a Youtube Vlog which I found quite current.  This film was also missing something all those other found footage horror films have - added in music. I thought this made the film a lot more real and the scares much more genuine.

Now onto the genres of the film. So the film is a horror and basically like the plot, whenever it hits 9:30pm, thats when the main scary stuff starts to happen. There are many jump scares that are effective but there are also some very creepy scenes that help build the atmosphere. One scene in particular where the Grandma finds the camera made me jump out of my skin. Not only is the film going to be pleasing to horror fans, it will also please comedy fans as this film is hilarious! Most of this is down to a very comedic script and a funny performance from Ed Oxenbould. What also added to the humour was that you would laugh at yourself after being scared as you wonder why you are letting yourself be scared by the elderly. However, this film has affected me and since leaving the cinema, I have felt a little on edge and chilly. 

This was probably the first horror film in a long time to not include overly dumb characters. The characters were acting how naive children would. Even when put in danger, the kids defended them like you would expect todays younger generation to do. The only thing I didn't understand is why the Mum couldn't get through to police first time and why it took her and the police so long to get to the children. 

The performances in this film were all round good. I thought Olivia DeJonge was like a younger Britt Robertson - she held the film very well and you actually connected with her character when she opened up. As I briefly mentioned before, Ed Oxenbould stole a lot of the scenes due to how funny he was - I liked how he was a budding rapper and didn't really understand why his sister was obsessed with films. It was also nice to see a sibling relationship where they don't hate each other. As for the grandparents - they were fantastic. I thought Deanna Dunagan was very creepy and will definitely be remembered by people who saw the film. Peter McRobbie was also very good - his scene with the adult nappy will definitely be remembered for a long time and will probably be a talking point for those who have seen the film. Even though her role was much smaller than the rest, I thought Kathryn Hahn also did a great job - the scene where the kids were leaving on the train was so simple but also effectively showed Hahn's great acting. 

My only complaint with The Visit is that I would have liked it to maybe go a little further than it did and push a few more boundaries. Yes, the film was scary but I feel that could have added a few more scares as I felt it was a little tame. I did sometimes question whether I thought the film was dumb when I was watching it but I think it was generally a very fun movie. 

The Visit is something you should definitely pay a visit to. The film is a very fun time - it has the scares but it also has the humour. The twist is great and can really be dissected after watching it and still stand strong. The acting is very good on both ends of the age scale. The Visit is a film I will remember for a long time and is definitely one of the best horror films of the year so far.

4 STARS
B

What did you think of THE VISIT? Is it the beginning of a return for M. Night Shyamalan?

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