M. Night Shyamalan is well known for having a track record that has been on a steady decline for some time. He started to lose his artistic sight at the tail end of Signs, more so with The Village and crash landed with The Happening, The Last Airbender and After Earth. So he decided to take a step back and try his hand at the still lively found-footage genre on a low budget scale with minimal studio influence.
I used to champion Shyamalan’s work years ago and would sometimes make excuse for his short comings. But as I grew older and took a look back at, I realized I might have just been in a blind love frenzy for whatever he gave to me. Don’t get me wrong, I see The Last Airbender as a fever dream that doesn’t exist and I cringed when I tried to finish After Earth. But The Visit had peeked my interest, so I gave him another shot.
The direction is taken differently then what we usually have gotten in the past, but still has the tropes we are familiar with. That can be a positive and negative thing. He doesn’t do anything new or lets the audience know that he’s grown as a director and as the movie progresses; he draws on to near boredom.
The jump scares are plentiful and what makes them worse, is that he relies too much on the grandma character to carry that burden. It got to the point that it just felt like Granny discovered the camera left on and decided to make silly faces at it. One thing that was somewhat interesting was the “hide and go seek” scene between the kids that played well with this type of genre.
The acting is alright but nothing special. The kids are incredibly annoying to a point that I really didn’t give a shit what happened to them. It felt like Shyamalan almost wrote himself into the movie and use the granddaughter for the role. The grandmother is the focal point of most of the crazy shit that goes on, but it tires out pretty quick. The only person that seemed terrifying was the grandfather. He had a type of silent but deadly powder keg ready to explode feel to him that we go little snippets of, that worked out.
The writing is what Shyamalan really dropped the ball on. Some of the dialogue was borderline cringe worthy and added little to nothing to the film. If you just pay attention to the first 20 minutes, you’ve already figured out the ending. It has a twist that Shyamalan is well known for, but for this kind of film, it’s expected and falls flat. The film is 94 minutes but honestly seemed longer with no end in sight, even after the twist was reveled.
You might have heard that Shyamalan has redeemed himself with this film, but the breaks need to be applied to that statement. It’s not his worse film but he hasn’t returned to his artistic form that put him on the map.
At most, it’s passable and reminds us he still is around and maybe still has something to show us. I will applaud him for trying something new but that’s just an “A” for effort. Maybe this is just a warm up for something great he has in his arsenal or maybe he’ll just fall back into his old ways. Only time will tell.