The Visit (2015)

September 17, 2015 - 7:12pm | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: Benjamin Kanes, Blinding Edge Pictures, dark comedy, Deanna Dunagan, Ed Oxenbould, Erica Lynne Marszalek, Kathryn Hahn, M. Night Shyamalan, Olivia DeJonge, Peter McRobbie, Sundowning, The Visit

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M. Night Shyamalan
Kathryn Hahn, Erica Lynne Marszalek, Ed Oxenbould, Peter McRobbie, Benjamin Kanes, Deanna Dunagan, Olivia DeJonge

There was a time when "Directed by M. Night Shyamalan" carried a lot of weight to a film. The man seemingly came out of nowhere and blew audiences away with The Sixth Sense in 1999, then followed that up with the unconventional superhero tale Unbreakable and the creepy alien invasion flick Signs. It was The Village that started the decline in quality of the films from M. Night (in my opinion), which gradually continued with each additional movie to the point where some people will completely avoid a project solely on the his name alone.

Now it seems that the man might have finally found his footing again with The Visit (previously titled Sundowning) where a couple young siblings spend a week with their estranged grandparents at their secluded farmhouse. The oldest of the two also happens to be an aspiring documentarian and decides to film their entire trip (nice excuse to be found footage). It doesn't take long for the children to be seriously creeped out by their Nana and Pop Pop, as strange things tend to occur after their 9:30PM bed time.

From walk-vomiting and clawing at doors (while naked) to running around like a ninja and crawling like a spider--shit is clearly bananas when the sun is down and the kids pass the weirdness off as them simply being old. That is, until more details are revealed, resulting in them finally wanting to haul their lil' asses outta there.

I've always felt that the elderly are severely underused in horror, which is sad because they can be pretty damn creepy when they want to be. There are so many possibilities there, because who really suspects their sweet old Nana and Pop Pop are up to something sinister, right? The Visit uses that to its advantage, as there's a shroud of mystery that surrounds these grandparents and we spend a majority of the film trying to figure it out, while also being royally creeped out at the same time. If the truth doesn't surprise you when it's revealed then it's simplicity probably will, because it really wraps things up nicely.

Apparently there were three different cuts for the flick: one being a comedy, another being straight horror, and one that fell in between. It's pretty obvious which version we got (the horror/semi-comedy) and it actually works for the most part. The creepy moments come almost as randomly as the minor comedic aspects, most of which were delivered by the young rapper wannabe  brother. I would rather have seen a full on horror pic, but what we got instead wasn't entirely bad since it did break up the monotony at times.

The movie still isn't without its faults--it's a slow-burn, which is fine, but was a little problematic in the middle when things didn't seem to progress much for a while and I found myself somewhat bored. Also, it's kind of misleading if you go in expecting a straight-forward horror flick; there's nothing here that I would personally consider "scary," though it did have some creepy moments. And I can't really fault it much for being found footage, but it honestly didn't need to be. Next to that it isn't a bad watch and it's nice to see some life in the genre again, even if it just a different take on an old twist.

I liked The Visit to an extent and feel that it's the start of M. Night Shyamalan's return to form. The film manages to deliver a creepy and (at times) darkly comedic little story and while there are some pacing issues in the middle, things pick up once the truth is finally revealed. If you can get through the tedium of the middle I'd say it's worth a look, but don't expect an entirely horror effort.

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FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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