M.Night Shyamalan is back with his latest feature ‘The Visit’ that has been produced alongside Jason Blum. The filmmaker best known for his smash hit ‘The Sixth Sense’ has been on a testing and treacherous road of recovery in the last few years following another disappointing film in ‘After Earth’ back in 2012. The critically panned sci-fi starring Will and Jaden Smith might have been the best thing to of happened to the Indian born director. The change of heart of using big named companies has come to an end; ultimately, his deciding was down to lack of creative control in post-production of his last few films. ‘The Visit’ is officially his lowest budget feature film ever since his debut as a director back in 1992 with ‘Praying with Anger’ is very hit and miss in its efforts, but, a massive step forward for the director.
Rebecca and Tyler, two teenagers go to spend a week away at their grandparent’s house, to whom they have never met before. Their mother is due to go away on a cruise with her new boyfriend and has had a dodgy relationship with her parents since the day she moved out which has come to them not being on talking grounds. Paula, the mother sends her two kids off to their grandparents in an attempt to use them as peace-mongers to get them back talking to each other. Rebecca is an aspiring documentarian and wants to document every moment while she is at her grandparents’ house for the week with her little brother Tyler. Upon meeting them for the first time, all seems hunky-dory, but as time goes on, it’s clear that something is not right with grandma and grandpa.
Grandpa tells the two kids to not leave their room after 9pm because that is bedtime in the house. As the nights go by, Tyler and Rebecca discover that the grandparents are not what they seem as they encounter some incredibly weird moments after 9pm in the house. ‘The Visit’ is an incredibly ambitious film but it’s not completely original in its scares. Modernised and contemporary scares are implemented in the film and that’s the most disappointing aspect of the film. ‘The Visit’ holds a strong premise and unfortunately, goes down the wrong track and tries to be a typical found footage horror film. That’s its biggest stumbling block, but the one thing that ‘The Visit’ holds is an experienced filmmaker behind the camera. M.Night Shyamalan may have had a torrid decade by turning out some less than impressive projects like ‘After Earth’, ‘The Last Airbender’ and ‘The Happening’ but it looks like his creative juices are being allowed to truly express themselves in this project. There are some great shots throughout the film that really project the fear and confusion in the surroundings of the two kids.
Additionally, the creepiness from both grandparents is to be applauded. Both of them are fairly decent in the film and really do test the audiences views and patience with their characters as they enter an enjoyable twist-turning finale that is obviously fitting to M.Night Shyamalan, who loves a good plot twist. On the flip side, to have humour in a horror/thriller is good, but an ounce too much can have a detrimental effect on a film. The humour outbalances the rest of the film and becomes slightly irritating due to the fact that you’re preparing yourself for a thriller but you are delivered something different. In any other aspect, this would be an amazing thing, but in this part, its not.
Most importantly, I enjoyed the film; ‘The Visit’ kept me engrossed throughout and I was eagerly anticipating the finale of the film and I wasn’t disappointed, in hindsight, I was actually pleasantly surprised. Its good to see M.Night Shyamalan back on the right track to making good movies in the future, but there’s still some ironing out to do! 3 out of 5 stars from me!