The Visit (2015)


Pros
  • It's just barely better than M Night Shyamalan's previous few movies
  • Plenty of 'creepy' and 'strange' moments to keep most people's attention
  • "I used to be an actor back in the day"
  • The actress who plays the grandma gives a pretty intense performance
  • The last third of the movie is the high point

Cons
  • Here we are again....another unnecessary movie shot via found-footage
  • The two children are completely over the top most of the time
  • Completely unnecessary ending as if to say the movie had some sort of legitimate theme to get across
  • Is it strange that they have no cellphone signal but access to high-speed internet?
  • Lacks atmosphere

Score: 4/10

I will admit there were times during The Visit when there was a smirk on my face and at times I actually laughed out loud. As strange as the kids were, there were times when their weirdness was actually amusing. That's a good thing because the movie was clearly trying to focus on being just as funny as it wanted to be creepy. But most of the time the children felt too artificial and fake outside of those few moments. The sister is an over the top aspiring filmmaker and the brother is a mildly amusing aspiring rapper. Their quirks work some of the time but most of the time they felt too fake for its own good. Which didn't help things considering the movie is roughly 80% of those two characters talking directing into the camera.

Which leads into my next point, why did this need to be found footage? Because everything that can go wrong with found footage, basically went wrong here. Shaky camera at times when the movie should be building suspense or tension in the scene. But instead all we are seeing is the camera rolling around as the operator is fleeing from the scene. Or if someone is being attacked or running, we can't see a damn thing. Or at other times, characters are fiddling with a camera during illogical situations. I appreciate trying to mask the found footage process by explaining the daughter is trying to make a documentary, but it's still unnecessary none the less.

And while The Visit may have scenes of characters acting completely strange or odd, there isn't a sound atmosphere to maintain an actual sense of unease. Things may get weird, but never do they feel suspenseful and that has to be the main problem. Something odd happens and then we jump to the following day knowing things are going to get progressively worse. It's not that the movie is predictable (it isn't) but we as an audience sort of know how the structure will play out.

If you get a chance and want to see a horror movie with a strong atmosphere, check out Austria's official entry to the 2016 Academy Awards, Goodnight Mommy instead of this (It also opened today, but in a limited number of theaters). So is this the return for Mr. Shyamalan? Hell no, but he's slowly returning to form.

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