Your grandparents are the last people you’d expect to be an evil force of nature. Well, in ‘The Visit, two kids realize their sweet grandparents are hiding a dark secret. Did M. Night Shyamalan hit the jackpot with ‘The Visit?’ Check out what the critics have to say!
A simple visit to grandma and grandpa’s house goes horribly wrong for Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould). Director M. Night Shyamalan is back at his horror roots with The Visit, but does it conjure huge screams and gasps? The critics are weighing in!
The director M. Night Shyamalan has a fine eye and a nice, natural way with actors, and he has a talent for gently rap-rap-rapping on your nerves. At his best, he skillfully taps the kinds of primitive fears that fuel scary campfire stories and horror flicks; at his worst, he tries too hard to be an auteur instead of just good, letting his overwrought stories and self-consciousness get in the way of his technique. After straining at originality for too long, he has gone back to basics in “The Visit,” with a stripped-down story and scale, a largely unknown (excellent) cast and one of those classically tinged tales of child peril that have reliably spooked audiences for generations.
With “The Visit,” Shyamalan has delivered a delicious horror gem so intense that you may accidentally rip the armrests off your seat from clenching them so hard. It’s an audacious piece of horror writing, laced with hilarious scene-stealing dialogue for young Oxenbould, who’s as skilled as they come at such a young age. Equally up to her task is DeJonge who, like Oxenbould, is an Australian doing an impressive job hiding her accent. Then there’s the beautifully terrifying Deanna Dunagan as Nana. She’s so great she practically pops off the screen as if she were the only character shot in 3D in a 2D film, helped by McRobbie’s even-keeled but disturbing performance as Pop Pop.
“The Visit” represents Shyamalan cutting loose, lightening up, reveling in the improvisational behavior of the kids, their jokes, their bickering, their closeness. Horror is very close to comedy. Screams of terror often dissolve into hysterical laughter, and he uses that emotional dovetail, its tension and catharsis, in almost every scene. The film is ridiculous on so many levels, the story playing out like the most monstrous version of Hansel & Gretel imaginable, and in that context, “ridiculous” is the highest possible praise.
M. Night Shyamalan has come up with an unoriginal faux-doc horror picture that actually works like a demonic charm…Along the way are Paranormal Activity–like hidden camera bits, false scares, sudden LOUD noises, and a bunch more obvious tricks to make the audience shriek on cue…But the audience does.
HollywoodLifers, will you go see The Visit? If you have, what did you think? Let us know!
— Avery Thompson