It is no secret that M. Night Shyamalan, once considered a master of plot twists and terror, has long since appeared to have lost his edge. I can tell you without hesitation when I went into the theatre to watch The Visit I wasn’t expecting much. But when I left? I was beyond thrilled. M. Night Shyamalan is BACK BABY!
The Visit is a story about Rebecca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler’s (Ed Oxenbould) trip to visit their grandparents, whom they’ve never met. Their journey to meet John “Papa” (Pete McRobbie) and Doris “Nana” (Deanna Dunagan) is told through the camera of Rebecca, an aspiring young film-maker who is trying to get to the truth behind her mother and her grandparent’s falling out. However, she and her brother’s curiosity – and camera – catch not only a glimpse into their mother’s past but the horrifying truth of the present.
The Visit isn’t quite a horror movie nor is it quite a comedy. While there are a few scares, the terror is far more psychological and sprinkled with moments of humor and heartbreak. Somehow this sway between laughter and a kind of uncomfortable feeling works, allowing the characters to explore the story line organically, similar to the emotional ups and downs a road trip like this would really elicit. And speaking of the actors, their performances are flawless and poignant so much so that you almost forget they’re actors playing a role versus a family trying to build from the ground up.
Without giving up to much of the films resolution, it’s quite clear from the previews that something is not quite right with Nana and Papa. And as Rebecca and Tyler try to understand what once was, they are quickly forced to focus on surviving what currently is. I can honestly say I did not see the ending coming, which surprised even me because I wasn’t quite sure how I missed it. However, I’m glad I did. It made The Visit that much more enjoyable. And Mr. Shyamalan? Welcome back. We missed you. As long a you keep delivering movies like this, we welcome you back with open arms.