Writer and director M. Night Shyamalan brings us “The Visit” which is his 11th film as a director of the horror meets bizarre style that only he can deliver. He made this film with Blumhouse, a smaller independent film company, who specialize in horror. It was a step in a new direction as Shyamalan usually is connected with big production companies with incredible budgets. M. Night working with an independent company was intriguing considering smaller budgets can lend themselves to more creative storytelling with this particular genre of film, unfortunately, it didn’t feel as creative as the potential led me to believe it would be.
Two kids take a vacation to their grandparents house and decide to document the entire trip using their cameras and creativity. Shortly after arriving they come to realize that things at the house aren’t as normal as they would prefer and danger ensues.
This film is shot “found footage” style and that didn’t really help it at all. The story was choppy, as one would expect from found footage, but it never seemed to connect plot points and often left other plot points unexplained. The premise that after 930pm you aren’t allowed out of your rooms is explained because the grandmother, played by Deanna Dunagan, acts like an overly drunk home repair specialist sanding a door, throwing up in the kitchen and scrubbing the floors on all fours while running into walls. This is all fine except for the fact she acts like the Hansel and Gretel witch before 930 at one point and also chases the kids under the house acting just as psychotic, again before sunset. For whatever reason it’s revealed that she doesn’t wear underpants, much to the disgust of myself since I, literally, was the only person in the theater when I saw this.
The grandfather, played by Peter McRobbie, has his own singularly bizarre habit of shitting himself and throwing the diapers away in a shed out in the yard, where he seemingly collects them for the reason of… being able to refer to his shed as a shitty shed? Your guess is as good as mine. I found no reason for this in the story except for near the very end he takes a diaper he just shit in and rubs it in his grandsons face, played by Ed Oxenbould.
The mother, played by Kathryn Hahn, is having a video chat with the kids at the peak of weirdness towards the very end of the film where it’s revealed the grandparents aren’t actually the grandparents but strangers the mother doesn’t know. So after this week of being at the grandparents house we discover these aren’t the grandparents… REALY?!?! I found this incredibly difficult to believe considering grandparents usually write letters and mail photographs each holiday. The idea the kids haven’t seen the grandparents in person in awhile is believable. However… NOT KNOWING WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE AT ALL is beyond ridiculous and was the moment that the theater was filled with laughter, my laughter. After all, I was the only person in the theater.
I don’t recommend this film to anyone and if the film appears on television I recommend you watch a dvd or blu-ray or youtube or play a game or read a book or clean your bathroom. All of these activities are better than wasting your time with this movie.
I give it nothing more than a scathing review. What a piece of garbage.