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The Visit

Coming Soon

M. Night Shyamalan is one of the most intriguing, yet perplexing “behind the camera” personalities in the business. There’s no telling what path his plots might take nor is there any assurance that it’ll make sense once the destination is reached. Due to these unknowns it’s hard to pass judgement on any of his works until the entire picture is seen. The writer/director/producer has covered the full gamut of critic responses from praise (The Sixth Sense) to bewilderment (The Happening) and even blatant bashing (After Earth). The question then becomes where will Shyamalan’s newest project fall? The commercials for The Visit seem pretty straightforward as far as a premise goes but history has dictated that it will be anything but that.
Paula (Kathryn Hahn) is a loving mother of two teenage children. Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are looking to spend time with the grandparents they never knew. Their mom has been estranged from them for all of her children’s lives. The kids are old enough now and wish to meet them for the very first time. The Visit to their grandparents will give mom some quality alone time and freedom to go on a cruise with her boyfriend. It will also give Becca and Tyler an opportunity to learn about their mom’s past which she never really speaks of. Becca is secretly planning on creating a video documentary along with Tyler’s help in the hopes that it brings some of the lost happiness back into their mom’s life. And maybe if they’re really lucky they can also rebuild the bond between their mom and her parents. What starts off as a promising idea soon becomes an awkward and uncomfortable stay with Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie).
The Visit is rated PG-13 which means that children the same age as the ones featured in the movie can go and see it. Careful parents, the impact on your children might cause downright refusal to any attempt to ship them off in order to give you some parental peace and quiet time, aka regaining sanity. While classified as a comedy horror it is worth noting that there are more funny parts than there are scary parts. Having said that, there are a few “jump moments” scattered throughout. The entire movie is filmed from a first person perspective via handheld video cameras and a webcams so be warned if that’s a source of irritation.
Becca and Tyler steal the show with Tyler coming out clearly on top. His character is very entertaining. Not only is he the mouthy younger brother. He’s also a self proclaimed rapper. His freestyle rap methods are very age appropriate for what a 13 year-old boy might want to express. There are some guaranteed laughs to be had there. Nana and Pop Pop are pleasant enough, at least on the surface until things go south. They also bring some of their own chuckles to the party with some age appropriate humor on their part. I suppose The Visit offers a little something for everyone.
Horror movie purists may come away disappointed in what they get out of The Visit as it is not a typical horror movie. This may walk and talk like a horror movie but it isn’t, at least not in the traditional sense. Keeping an open mind and setting the correct expectations can go a long way in the enjoyment aspect of this one. The commercials are really touting the horror angle. When there isn’t AS MUCH horror as you may typically expect or hope, a natural response is to feel let down. The Visit is gratifying and fun, in a small degree the way The Cabin in the Woods was back in 2012 when it caught many unsuspecting viewers off guard. M. Night Shyamalan has had recent success with his Fox television series Wayward Pines and may have once again found his form in theaters with this enigmatically entertaining feature. Here’s to a hopeful future of better things to come.

The Visit is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler


  1. Good review CW. I thought the film was perfectly passable as a quick thrill. Also, the comic relief throughout the film gives the movie a fun little edge. The fact is, that one minute I was startled and the next, I was laughing, means Shyamalan has at least surprised me after years of intensity. Unexpected treat. 🙂

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