The Visit (I) (2015)
User ReviewsReview this title
The fairy tale and twist delivered by The Visit do not disappoint. Hansel and Gretel effectively employ today's media and technology for narration and exposition, leading the viewer down an increasingly foreboding path. The fear and anxiety caused by Nana and Pop-Pop's odd behavior appeal to our politically incorrect subconscious: we shy away and are even repulsed by displays of dementia and senility, no matter how clinically explicable we understand those displays to be. I was pleasantly surprised that the predicted twist was not predictable, and I felt a sincere surge of a-ha! at its revelation.
The Visit falls short with respect to the traditional elements of film-making. The children, particularly the brother, are portrayed as cloying, non-credible 1980s sitcom characters with cheesy lines. Attempts at humor come off like a toast at a Dirty Dancing era summer camp in the Catskills. The siblings show no sign of being actual teenagers from the 21st century until approximately 45 minutes into the film, when they interview each other for their "documentary" and reveal certain vulnerabilities. The forced nature of this scene serves to highlight the otherwise inauthentic personalities assigned to them by the director and script. The mother's character is painted with the same superficial gloss, a problem magnified by her limited time on screen. These weaknesses prevented me from empathizing with the family members and reminded me throughout that I was indeed watching a movie.
Perhaps Shyamalan was so focused on invoking his brand upon The Visit that he was distracted from maintaining its essential quality. Like many other viewers, I still look forward to the film where he regains that balance.
I don't get what people these days expect an horror movie to be. If you don't think this a good example of a simple concept that works like a dream...or a nightmare, I don't get what passes for horror in Hollywood no more.
The idea for this movie is fantastic, and it's very well executed. I really don't get why people complain that nothing happens in this story. It's that type of simplicity that keeps the scary atmosphere throughout the entire movie. This is not a cgi crap action so called horror thing for teens, this is a classic old school horror, it's filled with a creepy atmosphere and uses perfectly all the ideas for each character to keep the viewer feeling uncomfortable all the time.
There's a couple of good scares ,but most of the horror really happens inside our minds. This is the best thing in this movie, it creates such an atmosphere of tension with simple things that when something really dramatic happens on screen we get ten times more startled and there's no need for any cgi on this movie at all to scare teenagers and bore the rest of us to death with the usual clichés. Not on this one.
This is clearly an horror movie for adults, its not edited at two hundred frames per second and it has a classic structure that simply is not targeted at young audiences. This is an horror movie for horror fans, it's not a popcorn movie for general audiences so ignore the bad ratings on IMDb, because if you remember the good classic stuff from the 70s like The Omen, The Changeling, or all those movies built on atmosphere instead of action, this movie is for you.
Absolutely brilliant. In my view the only thing that does not work is the final sequence after the twist is revealed, simply because the movie stops being a a story that creeps us out and becomes the usual fight for your life action bit we've seen hundreds of times. But until that happens this story is scary. Not because of what it shows but because of what keeps making us expect it's going to happen next.
Shyamalan is really back and this screenplay is the best thing he's ever written since the sixth sense and unbreakable. Also the casting is simply perfect with brilliant performances from everyone.
True horror is back folks. Ignore the bad hype from the multiplex popcorn crowd. This is a real gem that deserves to be among the very best horror titles of recent years and it will creep you out if you like your suspense atmospheric.
Another let down for me was that in his earlier movies there were always a number of positive sub-themes running through the movies that I found as interesting, if not more so, than the obvious scary movie theme. I failed to find any such redeeming parallel plot lines in The Visit. Again maybe he is just simplifying his movies to match his audience's wishes.
On the upside, I did find this movie to be something of an improvement over his most recent efforts. There were a few good chuckles. There were a couple of OK jump scenes. There was some tension here and there, but overall still a disappoint for me.
Of course, I eventually liked The Village and Signs a lot better after I had watched them several times on DVD. Maybe there is a jewel in the rough hiding here, just waiting to be found. Rating a 5.5 of 10 on first impression though.
And so I entered The Visit, a somewhat short and intimate tale of two precocious teenagers, a brother (13) and sister (15), who travel cross country to meet and spend a week with their estranged grandparents, whom they have not seen or met since birth due to a big family feud their divorced mother (Kathryn Hahn, the most recognizable face in the cast) refuses to talk about. The sister, Becca (the promising Olivia DeJonge) also happens to be an aspiring filmmaker, out to make a documentary about the big reconciliation, which ever so conveniently sets the movie up in the popular found footage sub-horror genre - but also opens a wide crack for endless jokes and self-aware nods towards the unsuspecting audience.
Anyway, as you could probably tell by the previews, something isn't quite right with Poppa and Nanna, and even though at first they seem like reasonably nice elder folks, their strict rules (do not get out of the room after 21:30, do not go down to the basement) and strange manners (you'll see what I'm talking about) soon enough make it clear to both Becca and Tyler (the smaller brother portrayed by the superb Ed Oxenbould, who at 14 shows endless promise) that they better get the hell out of there - as fast as they could.
Besides the trademark Shyamalan twist, which actually works here and seems reasonable in hindsight (unlike, say, The Village), the extremely self-aware script and the very natural and authentic brother-sister relationship between both co-leads, lends further credence to Shyamlan's pet project. You can see that he cared for the characters, and you can also easily remember that this is a director who made a reputation for himself because he managed to facilitate such an emotional and iconic performance out of then-11-year-old Haley Joel Osment, so obviously he's good with kids. I don't know if young Ed Oxenbould is the next Osment, but he sure does deliver the goods through and through - and gives one of the best children/teen performances I've watched in a while.
It's difficult to say much about the story without revealing too much, because The Visit is essentially the type of film where it's better the less you know going in. It's not to say the film is filled with plot twists left and right, but how cleverly it subverts expectations, especially based on the film's misleading marketing campaign. Let this be known: The Visit is a horror AND comedy. It's downright hilarious (intentionally so) during a majority of the film but also equally scary and creepy, which is what M. Night is known for. I was laughing hysterically and screaming, sometimes at the same time! The success of the film is how effectively it jumps in between the two genres and frequently on the dime. The third act showcases this in the best possible way and in full Shyamalan fashion.
Though there are plenty of laughs and screams to be had, The Visit is also filled with surprising moments of drama. There are, at the very least, three genuinely beautiful scenes. One of those involves a zoom in of a certain character, and it's utterly heartbreaking. Credit must be given to Shyamalan who manages to get great performances from his actors, a welcome change after the stilted and wooden performances in his last few films. Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould play the leads, and they're completely likable in their roles. Oxenbould, in particular, steals every scene he's in, providing many of the film's biggest laughs. Seriously, the jokes in here are funnier than most comedies released these days. Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie are also rightfully creepy as the kids' offbeat grandparents. Last but not least, Kathryn Hahn leaves a great impression, despite the limited screen time she has. She's truly wonderful here.
Overall, The Visit is ridiculously entertaining and a total crowd pleaser. It's the film we were all hoping for Shyamalan to make to get him out of the slump. No, it's not as great as his first four films, but it's a step towards the right direction. Recently, it's been revealed that he'll reunite with producer Jason Blum and Joaquin Phoenix for a new project. If it's another low budget feature like The Visit, which it most likely will be, we might be witnessing an era of Shyamalascance. After all, going back to basics is his greatest asset right now. Who says horror/comedy can't work?
UPDATE: The film is even better the second time around, and I noticed a lot of details I missed during the first viewing. There's even clever meta humor sprinkled throughout that might not be apparent at first. Additionally, I'd like to put a spotlight on Deanna Dunagan, who I didn't give enough credit to beforehand. She was fantastic. How great and fulfilling it is for an actress her age to have a role that is complicated and complex as is the character of Nana, to be sweet and motherly in one scene only to switch (convincingly) to creepy and insane the next. In one especially dramatic scene, you will even ache for her. Only if you stop to think will you notice the many layers Dunagan has to play with, and for that reason, she should be praised.
It's amazing how this film manages to be so wonderfully terrifying without the use of much cgi or special effects. A couple of points in the film I yelped and let out a nervous laughter (and I'm a tough guy).
M. Night Bashers will continue bashing this film but I feel this will stand the test of time, much like his best films. I hope he keeps this up and makes two or three more of these 'small' films quickly and then perhaps, people will eventually forget his larger failures.
I say, watch it. If anything, it's a fantastic lesson in directing horror through restraint.
The gist is a mom has a falling out with her parents. Many many years later, out of the blue, the parents want the grandchildren to come visit. Even though she hasn't seen her parents in years, she lets the kids go off on their own to hang out with people they've never met. Then weird stuff happens and an annoying kid tries to rap.
The Bad: As we've come to know from director M. Night Shyamalan (The 6th Sense, Signs), the "big twist" is to be expected. Because of that, if you're an over-analyzer of movies like me, you'll probably see the twist coming from a mile away. So in that aspect, the story is mildly predictable. (That doesn't ruin the movie though) Many of the scary scenes you'll see coming, and for the most part are not terrifying to the point that will give you nightmares. It's very generic horror and scare tactics that we've seen before.
The Reason: Okay, so here's the real deal about this movie. M. Night Shyamalan is known for having a really bad reputation for putting out movies like Lady in the Water, The Village, The Happening, and others. He started off great with The 6th Sense and Signs, but since then, audiences have been generally disappointed. Luckily for The Visit, this movie was not one of his bad films. It was disturbingly funny and scary at the same time. This film is like his "makeup movie" to audiences. For example, in a relationship, if a guy messes up and constantly disappoints his girlfriend, he may give her flowers as an apology. Now the girlfriend may like the flowers, but that doesn't mean the boyfriend is completely forgiven. Shyamalan is in the same boat. The Visit is his "flowers" to audiences. We'll take it, but he's still got a lot more work to do to make up for all the other not-so-great movies he's given us.
Take caution if you decide to see it. It's a unique movie. Not a Hollywood blockbuster by any means, but I wouldn't be surprised if many would enjoy it. To see this movie I recommend: Go in with low expectations, pay the matinée price, and go with a friend or date. (You'll want to talk about it afterwards)
The Rating: 7/10
For more of my reviews visit: www.EmansMovieReviews.com
We all know as soon as we turn on a Shymalan movie that there is going to be a plot twist that is so obscure that we would never have thought of it, but the Visit fails to deliver this mind blowing twist. The idea that the 'grandparents' were mental patients who had escaped seemed pretty self explanatory from the start. Not only is the twist a complete failure but the movie delivers no real scare. There are a few cheap jump scares throughout, but no suspense or build up.
The children in the movie are seldom frightened by the bizarre behavior of their 'grandparents', but they do make a lot of jokes about them and are very sarcastic about everything that happens. This strongly takes away from the horror factor. Think about it. You're stuck in a place with 2 elderly people you have never met who are very strange and at one point you even record one of them knocking on your door with a knife. Witty banter is the last thing on your mind.
Finally the very last issue with this movie comes from one of the last scenes in which the 'grandfather' shoves dirty diaper in the young boys face and in retaliation, the boy kills the old man all the while yelling like the hype man at an 8 mile rap battle. No not like he's yelling because he's a minor killing someone who just shoved crap in his face, but literally like Eminem's on stage hype guy. As if that wasn't enough to defeat the end of this movie, after a touching scene with their mother, the movie cuts to the young boy in his sisters room rapping about his visit. If a kid had crap shoved in his mouth he wouldn't be writing a rap about it. If a kid had to kill someone to go home he wouldn't be rapping about it. He would be talking to a therapist and not acting as if nothing had ever happened.
In conclusion, this movie was unrealistic, the emotions of the kids were very unnatural, the plot twist was barely a twist, and I would never see this movie again if I was paid to.
Every aspect of this film is terrible. It has all the cliché problems of the "found footage" genre - the shakiness, the perfect Hollywood cinematography when these are supposed to be teenagers with hand- held cameras. The plot is Swiss cheese and the twist can be spotted a mile away (the web cam did it for me). The children are so incredibly obnoxious and their dialogue so pretentious that I wanted them to die as soon as possible.
There is a scene in it where an elderly incontinent man slaps a diaper full of feces into a child's face and I can't help feeling this is a metaphor for Shyamalan's career. He can't help producing this trash but he chooses to slap it in our faces and, like the child in the film, we all just stand there and take it. Seriously, no joke - worse film ever.
- I came to watch a horror movie, not a silly 13 (9?) years old white boy shaming himself while trying to rap. I fast forward those parts, they were just too shameful to watch.
- How come anyone could possibly believe that someone would let her kids go to their grandparent's house after 15 years without seeing each other, alone?! F*ck at least go with them in order to be sure that your parents are able to take care of 2 kids, you neglectful mom.
- I won't deny that the parts where the grandma was acting strange were somewhat creepy, but there was a minute in which it became just forced and unrealistic.
- I'd rather gouge my eyes before watching those kids trying to act again.
- The kids tell their mom that 'something strange is happening' and she doesn't even ask what it is, she just tries to make her kids shut up by saying 'oh they're just old, don't worry' 'But mom grandpa poops himself and grandma is crazy' 'shut up and make me go watch my boyfriend winning the most hairy chest competition'.
- As I wanted the kids to die quickly so I could go away, the best part was when the grandpa shoved the poop-covered diaper in the kid's face. That was glorious yet it wasn't enough to keep him from rapping.
- After your mom finally pays attention to you and she tells you that those aren't your grandparents, what do you do? Nothing. You play Yatzee with the guys and then you don't even try to smash the chair in their faces, and when the fake grandpa locks you up in the room with the crazy woman, what do you do? Keep recording and screaming. You don't put the camera down not even for a second so you could, I don't know, beat her up for good?
- Why does the police take so damn long to arrive there?
- Why nobody felt the smell of decomposition?
Long story short: the movie is horrible. Go spend those 5$ in something more constructive like food.
Firstly this movie is (yet another) "found footage" film, a sub-genre which has arguably overstayed its welcome and I started getting itchy feet within the first few opening scenes. Secondly (based on the trailer)I thought I was in for a supernatural thriller but it's not. That's not to say it's without its moments of suspense and laughs on our trip to Grandma's house but sometimes these laughs feel almost unintentional. Speaking of unintentional, The dialogue of the two young protagonists is clearly the words of a 45 year old man trying to write for what he remembers young teenagers speaking like 20 years ago (and the camera-work for young teenagers with cheap hand-held cameras is almost Hollywood-like cinematography).
Overall a film that's oddly less than the sum of its parts and a clear missed opportunity. It'll be a long time before I get suckered again to see another M Night Shyamalan film.
I tried writing a review of this, but I couldn't, so instead I'm just going to do a quick Cinema Sins thing and list all the things that don't make sense in this movie. Spoilers ahead.
Why didn't the mother show the kids any pictures of her parents, how did they afford two really good quality and expensive cameras, why did that kid rap in front of his grandma, why did they keep going out after 9:30 pm if they saw their grandma not only puking, but NAKED, why didn't they tell the mother everything they saw, how were the grandparents always 'out' when visitors came, why did they leave that girl hanging on that tree for all to see, what was up with that alien story, why didn't THE KIDS RUN, why did she actually get inside the oven, why did he all of a sudden get all weird and personal with that 'you think you're worthless' talk with his sister, why was he zooming in on the camera why did they not just pretend they were sick, how were the grandparents paying the bills, how did the grandparents have internet, why did the kids not fight back, why did the boy just stand there while the grandma LOCKED HIS SISTER IN THE OVEN, why the boy just stands there and let the grandpa shove literal s**t in his face, why did the boy go absolutely insane, why did the grandma stare in the water, why did the fake grandparents kill the real grandparents and take care of their grandkids, why was the grandma smart enough to ruin the girls laptop camera but not smart enough to destroy the ethernet cable, why did the police not suspect the kids of just being murderers, why were they absolutely bats**t crazy, but only at certain times, why did the grandma get uncomfortable when they talked about the daughter, why was the ending so terrible, why did the boy have an expensive camera and laptop, but a s**t mobile phone?
But, the most pressing question of all, why in gods name did that girl wear that UGLY yellow turtleneck sweater?!?!?!
I have so many more questions, but my brain needs a rest. 10/10 worst movie ever would see again
TL;DR: Terrible movie that doesn't make sense but funny sometimes without meaning to be.
While this movie follows Shyamalans traditional game-changing-twist-at-the-end formula with an attempt to balance in a sentimental dramatic storyline as well (in the style of The Sixth Sense and The Village), the jump scares and irritating dialogue (why does the boy decide to say pop stars names instead of swearing? Why is this girl so pretentious and irritating?) undermine it in the end.
In the end, I very much enjoyed The Visit. It was an absolute blast. The whole audience was really into it, which really added to the experience. This is one of most fun times I've had at the theater in quite some time. I recommend anyone to go see this movie, and see it with a crowd! Who would have thought Shyamalan was capable of making an intentional comedy? The Visit is truly one of a kind, there's no other movies out there like it. It's so original and so unique, the more I think about it the more I love it.
And yes, there is a twist.
Two kids, Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) go spend a week at their grandparent's (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) place. Their mom (Kathryn Hahn) had a falling out with her parents at a very young age, so Becca and Tyler have never met them. This basic premise leads to various jump scares and unintentionally hilarious points of terrible dialogue, acting, and overall stupidity.
At it's core, The Visit, could have been an interesting horror flick about dementia and old age. However it just ends up being a dull and uninteresting horror. From the onset we can tell something's not right with the grandparents. They act very peculiar from the first time we meet them until the very end. No subtlety to the performances and it's clear their nuts from the very beginning. There's no slow build to anything because we've already seen so much. By the end, when we're suppose to be truly scared for the kids the audience is just tired from the prior 80 minutes of film.
But nothing seems to register with these kids. Tyler starts to question their behavior but not before he's already seen some truly odd things that would make any kid question the situation. A big problem with this film is how unbelievable these kids are. Becca is annoying and is written way too smart for a kid her age. Not to mention the actress, Olivia DeJonge, can't act for anything. Ed is a written as if M. Night has never even met a thirteen year old. The moments when we are forced to learn a little bit more about these kids are just uninteresting and painfully heavy handed.
M. Night is trying so hard to get his message across that when it finally hits, it done right painful to watch. It's so heavy handed and over the top it hurts. I would recommend this to people as an unintentional comedy, but the humor doesn't come nearly enough to warrant somebody sit through this mindless wretch of a film. Avoid it at all costs.