M.Night Shyamalan’s The Visit is something of an improvement over his last few films but it fails to deliver on the mastery that he showed with The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs and The Village. That was a fantastic run of features and while Lady In The Water has a lot of great elements, it didn’t work as a whole and the less said about The Happening, The Last Airbender and After Earth the better.
The Visit is a horror from producer Jason Blum that sees two teenagers (Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould) visiting their estranged grandparents (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) while their single mother goes on holiday. The kids get more than they bargained for when it transpires that their hosts are rather…strange.
What The Visit gets right:
Shyamalan has always been great at casting kids and both DeJonge and Oxenbould are great. Their characters feel authentic and they manage to sell both the horror and the comedy of the situation. The Visit also contains a last act plot development that’s pretty good and he doesn’t pull any punches in delivering it.
What The Visit gets wrong:
The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch both came out in 1999 and changed the face of horror cinema. It’s sad to see M.Night Shyamalan using the ‘found footage’ gimmick of the latter. The visit would have been infinitely better if he’d used traditional filmmaking methods – it simply would have improved the tension and added more dramatic weight to the film. There’s a good movie hidden within the concept of The Visit though unfortunately it just never makes it to the screen.
Movies In Focus is rooting for Shyamalan to return to form, and while The Visit isn’t a ‘sign’ that this is ‘happening’, it doesn’t take a ‘sixth sense’ to see that it’s a step in the right direction. After all, no run of great movies can be ‘unbreakable’. Maybe his TV reboot of Tales From The Crypt will help him rediscover the inner talent that made his early movies so great.
Deleted scenes, a making-of and an alternate ending give you a nice package.