In case you can’t read what it says on top “From the director of The Sixth Sense and Signs and the producer of Paranormal Activity and Insidious” those are not pretty well known titles and big shoes to fill.
The Visit is an odd project about two kids who go to spend time with their estranged grand parents while their mom takes a vacation with her new man. The story is that the mom left the mom and dad on bad terms when she went to be with the man she loved. They had two kids, then the man left them all to be with his new girlfriend. The mom and the grandparents never reconnected. All things aside, kids if you’d like to go stay with these strangers, by all means, mommy needs a break.
The producer of Paranormal Activity must have drawn the long straw when it came to how The Visit would be filmed opting for the docu-style horror film with hand held and stationary cameras. Our two main characters are wise beyond her years Becca, as aspiring film maker and easy explanation for the cameras, and her little brother Tyler, aspiring rapper. The two have qualities that try to appeal to a wider demographic and an older audience otherwise the audience would have a harder time relating to two little kids. After taking a train and meeting their grand parents, Becca and Tyler get to live the experience of the family farm and see all the things they had only ever heard about from their mothers stories and never seen before. The children’s stay is only for a week, the film informing us which day of the week it is, each days events becoming more and more strange.
Becca films the whole experience for their mother in hopes that it would help heal her mother and her grand parents relationship and perhaps bring them back together. She tries to get to know her grandparents more while trying to uncover the past and what happened between them and her mother. These questions cause extreme reactions from their grandparents and when their trip is about to come to a close secrets are revealed and the children may not make it home from grandma and grandpa’s house alive.
I suppose we should also delve into the character of Tyler, but what more is there to say about an odd looking annoying boy who tries to rap. Tyler is apparently smarter than his deep old soul sister who takes longer to catch on that things are pretty messed up at grandma and grandpa’s.
M. Night Shyamalan is known for his odd movies, but he is also known for having great gasp worthy twists. I wouldn’t say that is the case for this one as I pieced together the twist well in advance and found myself rolling my eyes and laughing more than jumping or gasping. Perhaps it was the fact that he teamed up with others and it took away from his usual spark, or perhaps his spark is just fading and he is grasping for straws until his next big film.
The poster isn’t even technically correct. Grandma is too off her rocker to make rules, and it is the grandpa who advises the children not to come out after 9:30 p.m. And aside from all the other oddities that came along with the story and the characters, Shyamalan’s biggest twist may not have been what we thought it was and perhaps was his discover of a time machine or weather machine. When the children arrive it is winter, it is cold and there is snow everywhere. The day they escape (may I remind you it was a week long trip and the day before they left it was still winter) there is a thunderstorm and zero snow escaping into the torrential downpour onto bare lawns. It can only be assumed that Shyamalan’s weather machine was actually the work of Alberta.
The Visit is one of those thriller horror films that fits seamlessly with those awful “who the hell thought of this one” movies that can be found on Netflix. Whatever it was they were attempting with this one, they really bombed it. I can think of a lot better places that you could be visiting than sitting through this one.