THE VISIT [2015]

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Directed and Written by M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn

Some folk are touting this new film as a return to form for director M. Night Shaymalan after his last few outings which were almost universally slammed. I can’t help but feel that this is most certainly not the case, as the director resorts to found-footage style camerawork for his latest movie. Its sad to look back at how much I enjoyed Signs, Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense.

Quick recap: As the title implies, two children visit their grandparents, who they have never seen. Their mother left home at 19 and hasn’t contacted them since. After a few days things begin to get weird as the kids try to figure out just what is going on. Simple enough, but things get predictable quickly.

Billed as a horror/comedy, I was expecting something along the lines of What We Do In The Shadows or The Voices, two movies that deliver constant laughs while maintaining the framework of a horror movie. Simple concept, and when done right it can be fantastic. This movie gets the formula a little muddled up – the parts that are supposed to be funny are cringe-inducing, whereas the allegedly scary parts aren’t scary at all; in fact, I found myself giggling myself stupid at events that I assume were supposed to inject some sort of foreboding atmosphere into the film. I’m sure I was irritating the hell out of my fellow patrons. Woops.

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Not only does it bungle its attempt at a horror/comedy, it plays as a film that shows us exactly how not to make a film. Let me elaborate.

Firstly we have the found-footage style camerawork. Like we didn’t have enough entries into that particular genre, this film takes the concept a step further, which I supposed it should be commended for. Its about the only positive I can draw from this mess. Regardless of this though, we are treated to the standard shaky footage, and when the plot of the film starts going in the direction we all know it will, many opportunities to film the grandparents’ weirdness are missed by the same shaky footage as the character in question runs away. Lord, how much longer will we have to put up with found-footage films?

Secondly, we have the two kids, both of whom are Aussie. This usually gets brownie points from me but it doesn’t here. Why? Because these two kids must be the most irritating child characters I have ever seen. Each scene where the younger brother ‘raps’ (or talks about hip-hop to his ignorant Nanna) is truly cringe-inducing, and the sad thing is these scenes are intended to be funny. In addition to this annoying little git, we have his sister Becca, some sort of film student who is making a documentary of their trip to their grandparents. With the help of her brother, almost the entire film is shot as if it is a documentary. Not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination.

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Becca talks about framing shots and how she wants the documentary to look. The problem with this is that she is far from successful, not to mention the fact that good cinematography or not, it hardly matters when almost every shot is shaking. Not to mention the fact that it is hardly immersing to view half decent cinematography via the found footage technique. Like I said, this is almost a lesson on how not to make a movie. Rather than using his knowledge to capture the film, he passes it on to his character, who annoyingly addresses the camera, talking about what she has learned about film. Personally, I’d have much preferred M. Night use this knowledge to film the movie in a more 1.5 beer - no beer topconventional way that doesn’t make me feel nauseous. At least that way it could have looked good. M. Night has tried to be innovative and his movies suffers because of it.

One and a half beers out of a six-pack. This gets half a point for being funny, albeit not in the way that was intended.

1.5/6

42 Comments on “THE VISIT [2015]

  1. As we go forward it seems the opinion is dividing more harshly on M Night’s latest outing, although I think the general trend is going against the film. Which I can’t say is all that surprising. It’s certainly not disappointing to me as I have basically renounced him as a hack. That’s probably harsh (after all, what the hell do I know about making a movie since I’ve never even tried making one) but come on. It’s been like 10 years since this guy has done anything of value. Next, please.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Me too. Actually, I haven’t seen The Sixth Sense yet (idk how that’s possible but apparently it is!) but agreed on Unbreakable. I like Signs too but not as much

        Liked by 1 person

      • amaI can’t think of a director who has failed so hard after releasing great movies. I’m sure there are some but watching this shit… its hard to believe the same guy made those movies.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I’m not at all a fan of found-footage style nor horror movies, so for sure I’ll avoid this one. Thanks for the warning, Jordan πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe no worries, I don’t think this is the return to form some are saying, though opinion seems pretty divided. But if you don’t like horror and found footage then yeah, avoid avoid!!!

      Like

  3. I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt but after thinking of it for a bit. It does suck. A much better movie that gets ignored by many was The Taking of Deborah Logan. It’s done in the same kind of style but it was executed much better in my opinion

    Like

  4. I haven’t heard of that one, I’ll have to add that to my ever growing watch list. I wanted to like it too… but I didn’t. Ended up laughing at how not scary it was. Which is never good

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    • Painful is exactly how I’d describe the feeling when that little shit of a kid star ts rapping. You just know that was supposed to be funny and it flat out failed.

      Like

  5. This one certainly seems to be dividing opinion into “really dislike” and “it’s quite good”. I sort of want to see it, but Shyamalan’s last few efforts left a lot (a lot!) to be desired. Great work Jordan.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I kind of liked this one overall Jordan! Nothing special, and the family drama kind of felt forced halfway through, but I found the lead kid actors to be likable and sound, and the grandparents to be fairly creepy. It does suffer from times in not knowing what it wants to be, or starting one moment as comedic and then going immediately to horrific and vice-versa. But as others have said, this seems to be divisive. Great review.

    Like

  7. Pingback: SPLIT (2017) | epileptic moondancer

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