Review of The Visit (2015)

Dir. M. Night Shyamalan; Starring Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould

As the lights dimmed and the only sounds in the theater were the crunching of teeth on popcorn, I began to wonder if I’d made a mistake paying to see an M. Night Shyamalan movie. After the major disappointments of Signs, The Village, The Happening, and the movie that must not be named, I didn’t expect much out of The Visit. Boy, was I wrong.

This movie is terrifying.

For those of you who don’t know, The Visit follows a young brother and sister who are going to meet their grandparents for the first time. Becca (DeJonge), 15, and Tyler (Oxenbould), 13, decide to film their week alone with Nana (Deanna Dunagen) and PopPop (Peter McRobbie) in order to create a documentary. Everything seems a-okay in the Jameson household… until night falls. After dark, there’s no telling what will happen.

The movie is shot as though the kids are filming a documentary. This worried me at first. I’m prone to motion sickness (which is why I can’t watch films such as VHS), so I was apprehensive about the style. To my pleasure, however, most of the shots are held steady. In fact, the camera work is done really well. A lot of shots are off-center, as if the camera had been left on the table or off to the side, which made the concept stronger. Also, the quick back-and-forth movements during action scenes gives the audience a sense of anxiety and suspense, which heightens the fear.

While I’ve heard some people say that they felt as though nothing happened in the plot, I found that the “lack” of excitement added to the terror of the situation. There’s some merit in a calm horror movie, I think. It makes the climax that much more exciting and horrifying.

The acting was amazing. DeJonge and Oxenbould’s performances were both strong. They’re funny, they’re emotional and, best of all, they’re believable. Deanna Dunagen and Peter McRobbie are phenomenal as well. They’re fun-loving and caring when they need to be, but absolutely scared the shit out of me when it came right down to it.

Honestly, no movie has ever made me scream out loud until this one. The Visit is terrifying and well shot with a terrific cast and a good script. It’s more believable than any of Shyamalan’s other movies, which heightens my opinion of him a little bit. I wouldn’t say that it’s better than Sixth Sense – hell, it’s not even as good as Sixth Sense – but The Visit is certainly up there on my list. I definitely recommend it.

Who knows, maybe The Visit is a sign of M. Night Shyamalan’s comeback. What do you think?


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