“Would you like to get inside the oven to clean it?” That line of dialogue in the trailers leading up to M. Night Shymallan’s “The Visit” could be argued as the line that got people into the theater. What a creepy way to end a trailer. That would peek the casual fans interest. However, I’m more intrigued by the director and production company that is behind this film. M. Night, along with Jason Blum produced this film on a 5 million dollar budget, which is Blumhouse’s specialty. Produce it on a dime and make a quarter.
Before I get into the actual review, I’d like to delve into my fascination with M. Night Shymallan. Signs, The. Sixth Sense, and Unbreakable are some of my favorite films of all time. Story telling at its finest. Then things took a unfortunate turn. He cranked out some stinkers. Lady in the Water, The Happening, Last Air Bender, and After Earth. One bad film after another from 2006 on. I was devastated. What happened to M. Night? Where did the visionary filmmaker that makes me the lover of movies I am today go? Now he’s back to basics with The Visit. A small movie, with a small cast, and a studio that backs these smaller budget films. Is this a recipe for success? Or is this just another let down?
Wow. I can say with confidence that M. Night is back. Let me start with a trope that people have had with horror year after year. Found footage. He handles it great. No false jump scares, behind every turn is a genuinely creepy image that will stay with you. You don’t question why the kids are filming, they clear it up straight away. The sister, Becca (Oliva DeJonge) wants to make her mother a documentary of what it’s like to visit their grandparents for the first time. If you’re still going to question why they are filming then leave the review, this movie isn’t for you.
Not only is this movie filled with creepy imagery, and old people scares. It’s funny as well. Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) is an aspiring freestyle rapper. He steals the show here. When he starts rapping it’s gold. The juxtaposition between the serious sister and the funny laid back brother works in this movie. Some things in this movie are so scary that you have to laugh to let out something.
Shaymalan has some dramatic heft in this script. Everything wraps up nicely. It’s like old Shaymalan, not in quality, but in the fact that as you think about the movie more, and the twist that takes place later, you can see that if all adds up and you’re just in shock.
The only thing negative I have to say is that between the comedy and horror, it’s either heavy on one and not on the other at times. The tone shift sometimes is a bit jarring. Going from a lighthearted moment to a terrifying image later.
Laughs, scares, and thrills throughout, Shaymalan and Blum deliver one of the best horror/thrillers this year.