Movie Review: The Visit
By Haadiza Ogwude, Contributor
[Blinding Edge; 2015]
M. Night Shyamalan, writer/director of The Sixth Sense, Signs and The Happening, recently released a low budget ($5 million) thriller within the found-footage genre. The Visit is about a pair of teenage siblings on a weeklong visit at the home of grandparents they’ve never met. 15-year-old Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and her younger, wannabe-rapper brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are eager to meet their Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop-Pop at their farm. Their divorced mother (Kathryn Hahn) warns them she hasn’t seen or spoken to her parents in 19 years--after she left home because of an incident she “can’t discuss.” The movie begins with a disoriented, overcompensating mother making up for the father who abandoned his kids. In less than 10 minutes, the movie changes to a scene that shows Tyler “rapping.” This is when I knew this movie could not be taken seriously.
Things started going awry the moment Becca and Tyler arrive at the farm. The farm is too remote for cell phone coverage, and the camera on the laptop, which they use to video chat with their mother, is damaged in a freak kitchen accident. Nana and Pop-Pop tell the kids not to go in the basement and to stay in their room after 9:30 p.m.
The Visit also falls into the genre of horror comedy--because it is a horror film so stupid it’s funny. Oxenbould’s character was the clown of the film. His constant sarcasm and joking kept the movie entertaining but at some points, his comments cheapened the drama of the movie.
It’s bad enough both the horror comedy genre and the found footage genre have been worn ragged over the past decade, not to mention the abundance of clichés. Shyamalan displayed a level of mediocrity with this production that hasn’t been seen since After Earth.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of twists that keep the movie interesting. The final twist at the end is slightly predictable but the build up is well done. About 75% of the way through you can see where the film is heading, but the film has just enough charm to keep you intrigued.