HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Visit
HTS Overall Score:76
I have to say, I actually like several of M. Night Shamalamadingdong’s movies. He had great success back in his early film making career and put out some really fun thrillers. “Signs” and “The 6th Sense” were huge hits and I REALLY REALLY love “Unbreakable”. It’s (in my opinion) one of the greatest superhero movies ever made and exquisitely crafted. However, his later movies have really spiraled off the deep end. Somehow the man still gets funding for movies, no matter how badly he dive bombs, and once “After Earth” literally tanked so badly that even Will Smith had to wince at the crash landing, we actually thought that M. Night Shamalamadingdong would never actually get funding for another movie again. In fact we were ALMOST correct. “The Visit” was almost never made and was shot on a ridiculously shoe string budget of $5 million (and raked in over 10 times that amount domestically alone). After hearing of the stunning financial success the movie ended up being, I was really intrigued and wanted to see if the film maker with a twist had finally gotten back to his roots. My reaction on seeing was something like this “what the….I mean, did I just…..are you kidding me!!!!??”.
The man with an obvious twist is back, and this time it’s with much lower budgeted horror film that takes us back to his roots of creepy movies with a weird twist at the end. Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) have never met their grandparents. Mommy dearest (Kathryn Hahn) had left them at the tender age of 19 and never looked back. However, times have changed and they finally reached out to her and asked to be a part of their grandchildren’s life. Mommy dearest has apparently acquiesced and is sending off Becca and Tyler to spend a weekend at the old folk’s farm out in Pennsylvania. The children are themselves a bit odd, as Tyler is an aspiring rap star (there are several cringe worthy freestyle moments in the film that will put your teeth on edge) and Becca is trying to make this entire experience a documentary. Thus we see over 50% of the film through the lens of a camera within the movie.
Once the pair get to their destination they are met by Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Poppop (Peter McRobbie) where they are whisked away to their parent’s family home. Things seem ok at first. Nana cooks great food and they are having a grand old time in the sticks (well as grand a time as they can have with no Wi-Fi). However, it doesn’t take long before things turn strange fast. Poppop has an old shed out back that he goes to mysteriously and NO ONE is allowed in the basement (due to mold supposedly). This is all chalked up to old people problems and soon the children just write it off. But not matter how hard they try, they can’t shake the fact that things aren’t NORMAL around the place. That’s when Becca and Tyler start investigating their grandparents, and start setting up cameras around the house to see what happens past bedtime, and what happens in the dead of night very well may be the secret they are looking for.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=62041[/img]“The Visit” is just a plain bad movie from start to finish. M. Night Shamalamadingdong has made some weird movies in the past, but this one takes the cake. To be honest, it wasn’t even the most remote bit scary and the twist was seen a mile away. I didn’t even look for it to be honest, but by the time the second visitor came to the house I had it figured out completely, and guess what. I was definitely right. The scares are all your classic jump and tension scares, trying to get you to fear the grandparents, and then take a look back and say “well, was it REALLY scary, or was I imagining it”? By the time the actual twist happens I was staring at my watch wondering if it was over yet. Strangely enough, this isn’t your normal M. Night Shamalamadingdong twist, as he usually introduces the shocker right before the end. This time we get the “shocker” a good 20 minutes before the film wraps and he allows for a more sappy and intimate ending to actually take place, after all the mayhem has died down.
While I rag on many portions of the film, I will say this. I certainly enjoyed the performances of the grandparents. Both were creepy as all get out, despite the obvious plot twist and they interacted well with the limited environment they had at their disposal. Although, Becca and Tyler were written so atrociously that it almost balances out at the end. I mean, who had the bright idea to make Becca a verbose film maker and Tyler to be a white boy wannabe rapper? They were so grating that by the end of the film I was almost hoping the grandparents WERE evil so that they could eat the children and get it over with (there was even a Hansel and Gretel moment with the oven at one point in the film).
Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including terror, violence and some nudity, and for brief language.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=62049[/img]Being that the movie is kind of a movie within a movie, or shall I say half found footage and have normal film making, you can expect a nice and glossy looking digital image. Sometimes it looks a bit TOO glossy, but I rack that up to the digital cameras that Becca and Tyler were using to make their documentary. Both cameras look surprisingly similar, just with the hand held ones apparently giving a glossier look and higher frame rate applied to them. The fine detail is magnificent, with every little pore and wrinkle on the grandparent’s face visible, and every fleck of peeling paint on the old farm house laid bare for the world to see. Long shots look a hair breadth less finely detailed than the close ups, but the open farmland looks beautiful with luscious greens and wonderful golden colors of falling leaves. Blacks are great normally, but I DID notice a little bit of crush here and there, especially indoors and below ground where the shadows look a bit murky.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=62057[/img]True to the nature of the movie, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is uber creepy, with lots and lots of thick ambiance amongst the surrounds and a heavy bass track to accompany them. The dialog is always crisp and clean, locked up front and devoid of any anomalies that might hamper it. They can shift from a loud yell as Becca and Tyler are running from Nana, down to a whisper as the two of them huddle, scared in a dark basement. The surrounds get a hefty workout as you can hear the simplistic sounds of a window opening, or feet crunching on leaves underfoot, and then explode in a cacophony of action as the two run screaming towards the house. LFE is pounding and heavy, adding some power to the jump scares, as a door slams shut, or a heavy downbeat impacts in unison with the scary happening on screen.
• The Making of The Visit
• Deleted Scenes
• Alternate Ending
• Becca's Photos
I really wanted to like “The Visit” as I’ve always yearned for a day when the master of twists would go back to his roots and make a good movie once more. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case here, as “The Visit” is a giant jambalaya of his greatest hits, with the same jump scares and the same tired twist at the very end to make you roll your eyes at. It wasn’t so bad that I was screaming and clawing my eyes out, but it seems obvious at this point that the man has run out of ideas and is recycling the same tired old clichés over and over and over and over again until someone finally defunds the man. Audio and video are spectacular, but that still can’t overcome the fact that a bad movie is a bad movie. Personally, I’d just skip it.
Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DTS 5.1
Runtime: 94 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 5th 2016
Buy The Visit On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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