Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents' disturbing behavior while visiting them on vacation.Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents' disturbing behavior while visiting them on vacation.Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents' disturbing behavior while visiting them on vacation.
The good news is that his latest film, 'The Visit' is Shyamalan's best film since 'The Village', which mostly was a decent film let down badly by the twist. However, judging from what had been said to me prior to watching, expectations were to see Shyamalan making a return to form. Instead, 'The Visit' was a film that is certainly better than all his previous films post-'The Village' (and that is saying volumes, due to that the least bad of his "panned" films 'Lady in the Water' was still poor), it is worth visiting and about mid-spectrum Shyamlan along with 'The Village' and 'Signs' but not a patch on 'Unbreakable' and especially 'The Sixth Sense'.
Starting with the good things, 'The Visit' does boast a mostly deft mix of chilling tension, genuine scares that really unsettle you and wonderfully weird comedy. The performances are very good. Not since 'The Sixth Sense' has there been more natural and compellingly real child performances in a Shyamalan film (in this regard he has also varied, achieving brilliance with Haley Joel Osment in 'The Sixth Sense' but also abominable depths with Jaden Smith in 'After Earth'), Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould do a truly great job here. Even better are Peter McRobbie and particularly Deanna Dunagan, chilling as the grandparents.
Production design, lighting and effects have a real eeriness that adds hugely to the atmosphere. The story is mostly deliberate but with enough to absorb because the creepiness is so effective often. The use of music doesn't jar at least and Shyamalan does more than capably building up and on the scares and tension.
On the other hand, the twist is not that hard to guess (and to me guessable early on) and not only is the execution of it contrived but it is revealed too prematurely which does affect some of the momentum of the last 30 minutes. Shymalan's films, even his bad films, mostly have good production values to their merit, but the cinematography in 'The Visit' looks cheap, almost amateurish. It adheres to the self-filmed documentary-like style but the excessive shakiness of the camera does exhaust, irritate and nauseate the viewer.
While delivering on the atmosphere and enough of the story, the script is sloppy at best and often toe-curlingly weak. There is a lot of forced melodrama, frustrating character decisions and inconsistencies (the mother), overexposed, irritating and quite frankly often pointless and out of place rapping and the children talking like wannabe university students (am aware that there are children in existence who act and speak beyond their years, speaking as one myself a decade ago but not in this awkward-sounding a manner).
On the whole, worthwhile and not a bad film but not the return to form that was expected. This said mid-quality-spectrum Shyamalan is infinitely more preferable to the four awful films that he directed before it post-'The Village'. 5/10 Bethany Cox
- Feb 1, 2017