Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Movie Review #309: "The Visit" (2015)

Movie"The Visit"
Ticket Price: $9.75
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Image Source
Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are about to meet their grandparents for the very first time and spend a week at their house. Many year prior, Becca and Tyler's mom (Kathryn Hahn) and their grandparents had a falling out and have not seen each other or really spoken since. Becca is an aspiring filmmaker and wants to document their week at Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop's (Peter McRobbie) house in the hopes of finding something that could mend these old wounds. This may be harder than she bargained for as Nana and Pop Pop are a little odd, to say the least.

Preying on people's weaknesses when it comes to grandparents and older folks...genius!

For some time, we had lost faith in M. Night Shyamalan. It has been a long while since he has made a decent movie and his last three were absolutely abhorrent. These horrid films, "The Happening," "The Last Airbender, " and "After Earth," made us lose all hope in him as a director. Now, there is a faint, shimmering light at the end of the tunnel, and this light is Shyamalan's latest film "The Visit." Now, we won't pretend this is his best film ever because it's not, and it's not a perfect movie for any director, but it is certainly his best movie since "The Village," possibly even his best since "Signs." This film is a low budget horror thriller with a bit of dark comedy sprinkled in and was entirely funded by Shyamalan himself. It is shot in a found footage/mocku/documentary style, and though this gimmick doesn't work in many other films and can actually be very annoying, it surprisingly works in this one and does so quite well. We were never once put off by the shaky camera as we simply understood it as one of the main characters making a film.

So much of the movie relies on the strength of the main four actors, especially that of the two kids Olivia DeJonge, who plays Becca, and Ed Oxenbould, who plays her younger brother Tyler. Since they take up the lion's share of the screen time, it's very important they perform their parts well, which luckily, they do. It was a bit of a gamble for Shyamalan to use two relatively unknown actors, but with a minuscule budget, we totally understand, and this gamble paid off handsomely. The character of Tyler offers some great comic relief with his well-timed, smart ass remarks and terrible, awkward rap performances. It's obvious he is the yang to Becca's yin, and even though he is very try-hard and wants to get famous through YouTube, he offers the perfect balance to Becca's more mature, stoic, and rigid demeanor. DeJonge displays a few great dramatic moments, too, as she searches for closure and forgiveness for her mother, and for herself, since her dad left their family. Though these actors perform very greatly, it is really Nana, played by the perfectly sinister Deanna Dunagan, and Pop Pop, played by the creepy and unsettling Peter McRobbie, who steal the show. If you've never had a few of grandparents or the elderly, this movie might just make you think twice about it. Dunagan and McRobbie are tremendously excellent and viciously menacing. A small switch gets flipped relatively early on in the film and they go from seeming somewhat normal to being completely batshit crazy for the remainder, and even kept us on the edge of our seats a few times with their shenanigans. There is just something about these two that is so unsettling, and there are times we as the audience are uncertain what their intentions actually are. One particular moment, which involves a well-executed jump scare (which I probably should have seen coming) had me screaming audibly in the theater, something I welcomed with opened arms because it has been a while since that has happened.

The mood of "The Visit" is set so well and there are some genuinely creepy moments that can really freak you out as you are never totally sure what is going to happen next, not that actually knowing would make it any less scary. At the end of the day, we are pleased to say there is still hope for you yet, M. Night Shyamalan, since we know you're reading this, and now we can look forward to what is yet to come in your future, with some cautious optimism, of course.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 62%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

No comments:

Post a Comment