M. Night Shyamalan has been one of the most infuriating directors for the past decade for making disappointing films that don’t compare to his earlier films. While The Sixth Sense is considered his greatest work; I admire Unbreakable and Signs just as much. Everyone lost it when he made The Last Airbender but I lost my patience with Sir Shyamalan much earlier when he made Lady in The Water, a story about a sea nymph trapped beneath a swimming pool in an apartment complex. The movie was based on a story he made up for his children that he thought was worth adapting into a feature film, and it was an awful movie. I have only seen 10 minutes of Last Airbender but I can’t imagine how he can top the disaster that was Lady in the Water. After Earth is his latest movie and I remember falling asleep at least twice in the theater, a completely lifeless movie. The only movie I could bare to watch from his filmography in the past 10 years is The Happening, it is by no means a good movie but it is laughably bad that it becomes quite entertaining.
I had little expectations going into The Visit but I was hoping he would do something different. I wasn’t very excited to learn that this was going to be a found footage film; there have been so many movies (mostly horror) as of late in that format and I have never been a fan. I can’t get past the fact that the characters in these movies are recording everything even when their lives are at stake. There have only been a few movies I can think of that have done it right, Chronicle and the first Paranormal Activity come to mind. I am happy to say that The Visit uses this style of film making exceptionally well.
I had no clue if The Visit was supposed to be a comedy or a horror movie and having watched it, I am still clueless. The story begins with a mother about to send her two kids to go visit their estranged grandparents. One of the two kids aspires to become a film maker and is shooting a documentary with her younger brother who likens himself to Tyler the Creator and is constantly rapping during the film. When kids are the main characters driving a film, you hope that they’re not annoying because your enjoyment of the film completely depends on whether or not you can stand to watch these kids for 94 mins. The kids in this movie are funny and smart; they work well with each other and you believe that they are an actual family. However, I can’t begin to describe how bizarre this movie is. When these kids meet their grandparents, everything seems normal but when it’s night time, the grandparents start doing weird, gross out and disturbing things. These happenings are always explained the next day by the mother, who they constantly Skype, that the reason why the grandparents act this way is just because they are old. Little by little, things get even stranger but all of this is balanced with humor.
This film did surpass my expectations and is by far the best film he has made since The Village but then again that isn’t saying much. The Visit does have its flaws, it can be dull at times during scenes where nothing happens, but the movie does have heart and a few emotional scenes. The ending pays off and is definitely applause worthy and it is one of the better films released this summer. I think Mr. Shyamalan can regain the trust of movie goers once again and I never thought I would say this but I am actually looking forward to what he’ll do next. (7.5/10)