The Visit (2015) Review

The Visit (2015)

Directed & Written by M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents’ disturbing behavior while visiting them on vacation.

My Opinion:

Like a lot of people, I was a fan of M. Night Shyamalan’s movies. At first. When they were good. But then they turned shit. The Sixth Sense was brilliant & I remained a fan through everything up until that stupid Lady In The Water movie (I really liked The Village – why don’t many people like that one?). After The Happening, I gave up on his films completely (and it sounds like it was good that I did – The Last Airbender & After Earth sound terrible). Well, Devil was okay (he wrote the story).

Anyway, I heard that the good old M. Night Shyamalan was finally back with The Visit so, although I didn’t exactly rush to see it, I watched it as soon as I could at home. Hmm… It’s certainly not as good as his best stuff but it’s not completely terrible. It had a lot of potential in the beginning but a ridiculous final 20 minutes or so ruined it for me. Shame. Here – I’m bored so I’m going to rank all his movies that I’ve seen (I’ll include Devil). Worst to best:

Lady In The Water
The Happening
The Visit
Devil
Signs
Unbreakable
The Village
The Sixth Sense

I’ll start by discussing The Good Things about The Visit:

The Kids. I thought the kids were quite likable & they actually felt like real kids as opposed to when kids in movies are so clearly “written by adults”. Maybe Shyamalan is just good at directing kids as Haley Joel Osment was so good in The Sixth Sense (but did seem too grown-up for his age). I liked the relationship between the two siblings & I liked that they were smart without being too smart. They’re still just kids & most kids wouldn’t know how to handle the bizarre situation they find themselves in. Their characters & how they deal with things felt more realistic than in most horror movies. The boy has an annoying tendency to rap, though.

Nana. Actress Deanna Dunagan plays this character brilliantly. I’ve never seen her in anything before – she should be in more stuff. It’s like Shyamalan said “can you play a crazy lady?” and she was all “f*^k yeah!” and, wow, she really went to town with this character. Yahtzee!!! I couldn’t help but laugh as she’s so totally over-the-top but you can’t say the actress didn’t give it her all.

The found footage aspect. I realize that saying this will automatically turn some people off of this movie but this plot device doesn’t bother me if used in the right way. To be honest, I completely forgot this was a found footage film so I can say that it clearly wasn’t a distraction. The kids want to make a documentary of the visit with their grandparents & this style actually worked just fine for the movie.

The first half. The Visit really did start out well. It had a good atmosphere & creepy feel. It was fun when the grandparents were doing small odd things that let us know that something wasn’t quite right. There’s a scene under a porch that was pretty intense & claustrophobic. I couldn’t wait to find out what was going on & what Shyamalan’s signature twist would be.

The message. There’s actually a fairly good message of sorts at the end concerning family & letting things go.

Now for the unfortunate Bad Things:

The setup. The mom hasn’t talked to her parents in years so her kids have never met them. But then she suddenly decides to send her kids to them for a week after they contact her (or the kids?) out of nowhere (I can’t remember exactly). It just seemed a weak setup. I don’t think a mom would be like “Okay – I’ll send my kids to these people I haven’t spoken to in years because I was wanting a vacation & some sex with my boyfriend anyway”.

The mom. Speaking of the mom, she was just too flaky. I liked the close relationship she had with her kids & they seemed to have good chemistry. Which made the setup all the more unbelievable…

Pop Pop & the excessive craziness of the grandparents. Nana was a lot of fun to watch but, really, the grandparents are so over-the-top crazy by the end that the movie ceases being scary & ends up being laughable. Pretty sure I’ve given nothing away there as trailers, etc, all made it obvious that these two are NOT right in the head. If this was meant as a horror comedy, the ending kind of works. I feel like I read somewhere that this was Shyamalan’s intention but the movie doesn’t seem to ever be defined as a “horror comedy” anywhere online. He does often go over-the-top at the end of his films but I thought The Visit went a bit too far. Especially with Pop Pop, whose character I didn’t enjoy in the same way I did Nana’s. Speaking of Pop Pop….

The diaper thing. Gross. Was that necessary?

The last half (but especially the final 20 minutes or so). Well, I’ve pretty much covered this above. It’s too over-the-top & the grandparents are too crazy. It rubbed shit all over the decent first half of the film.

The twist. Don’t worry – I won’t give it away for those who still may want to see this. But it means I can’t really say much about it. I’m just thinking that Shyamalan was either very lazy with this one OR deceptively brilliant for making it what it was. I dunno. This could actually end up in my Good OR Bad category depending on my mood. Maybe I’ll change my mind. I might. Because I’m CRAZY like that. Yahtzee!!!

Summary:

The Visit had potential & I was really hoping to like another Shyamalan movie again. If he had kept things more subtle & creepy at the end like it was starting out, I’d have definitely liked this more. If it was truly meant as a horror comedy, I’d be slightly more forgiving but I don’t think it’s clear that it’s meant to be this way, which will have probably left a lot of viewers feeling slightly confused by the end. However, there are some strong characters with Nana being fun to watch & the kids being likable – I think we all get sick of the hateful characters that are so common in horror movies. Overall, The Visit was very flawed but it was also just good enough to potentially make me watch whatever Shyamalan makes next if it looks decent enough. He may just win back another fan if his next film is truly a return to form like people claimed this one was & which I sadly believed might be true before those final 20 minutes. (His next film is a movie called Split starring James McAvoy. It’s getting VERY good buzz but I’m trying to not get my hopes up too much…)

My Rating: 6/10

Okay, I gotta include this clip…

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21 thoughts on “The Visit (2015) Review

  1. Interesting! Hmmm. I have a soft spot of M. Night Shyamalan’s movies, they’re just weird hahaha. I haven’t seen this one yet, but I remember being very intrigued by the trailer. Although you did rank it as your 3rd worst… maybe I won’t rush to see this one.

    • Well, I would say that this WAS a return, of sorts, to his older films. I certainly didn’t hate it – just wish the ending had been a lot better. But I think you should definitely give it a try if you’re a fan. : )

  2. Great review lady! I have to say, kids in movies are usually the worst. As you mention above, too often they are written by adults and it becomes obvious. This sounds like if went way silly at the end!

    • Thanks, Natasha! Yeah, I was actually quite enjoying this one at first. It’s a shame it was so over the top at the end but I wouldn’t necessarily tell people to not watch this. It was okay. : )

  3. The image with the woman with her mouth open with food killed any interest in giving this a shot. I also liked The Village and didn’t understand why people hated it so much. I have the Lady in the Water but it still has the plastic wrap still on it. After Earth isn’t so bad if you view it as a YA book turned into a YA film. (don’t know if it was ever a book but that is basically the feel of that film, coming from an English Ed major) But it was never the type of hyped up block buster they tried to make out of it.

    • Lol. That crazy food-in-mouth part is the most memorable bit, though. ; ) Well, I have to say I did at least like this more than Lady in the Water. It’s not awful – just a bit silly. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s one you should avoid. : )

  4. Yeah this film was so overrated. My biggest problem was I never believed these grandparents would allow filming to begin with. Also I saw the twist coming a mile away

    • Yeah, I’m not sure why the movie was hyped so much. I guess it was because, compared to the few he’d done just before it, it was finally much better. Which isn’t saying a lot as he had done some truly awful ones there! I think I enjoyed this slightly more than I made it sound, though. I just wish it hadn’t been so silly at the end.

  5. Got to love your phrase….it’s not completely terrible. Maybe when the local library gets it in their DVD collection I’ll give it a go..after all…then it’ll be free.

    • Lol. That was very complimentary of me. : ) You get movies for free at the library?!?! We actually have to pay for them here. Well, the last time I looked into getting a movie from the library… (maybe five years ago!).

  6. I really enjoyed this… well, parts of it scared me shitless, so maybe “enjoyed” isn’t the right word… I thought it was a real return to form for Shyamalan — definitely not his best work, but back in the same ballpark as his earlier films. The setup is definitely the worst bit. It’s so terribly contrived just so that the twist will work… but then, I liked the twist, mainly because (spoiler warning for any unwary comment-readers!) the whole film made it seem like the explanation was going to be something supernatural and then it was totally grounded.

    Also, I kinda loved the boy’s terrible rapping.

    • lol. Scared you shitless? Kind of like Pop Pop & his diapers in this movie! ; ) I do agree it was, somewhat, a return to form at least. And I really was enjoying it at first! Until it went a little too nuts. Not sure still if I liked the twist or not. I think I kind of liked the twist being that it wasn’t actually much of a twist this time!

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    • Glad you liked it! : ) I think I enjoyed it a bit more than it probably sounded in my review. I’m just a bit complain-y. ; ) It did start out good! Just got a bit too crazy.

  8. I like The Village! But I don’t like Unbreakable or this one. I saw this when it came out in cinemas, went to a blind screening and this one was what they showed that time. The Visit is not exactly bad but it was kinda gross. That diaper but everything else too. I do not want to see it again. Ugh.

    • Yeah, I think this is a “like it okay or hate it”. I guess I did like it okay but really wish they’d left out the diaper thing! I’d maybe rate it half a point more if they’d left that out. And if the ending hadn’t been so over the top… : )

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