Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I love horror movies. It is a love that I cannot quit. Yes, I am Brokeback for horror movies. Now that my secret is out, I must tell you about my experience with the new M. Night Shyamalan movie The Visit.
The film stars a bunch of people that I do not know, and that is often for the best in horror movies. It makes you more focused on the story and the realism when you do not recognize the actors from a bunch of different projects. Every actor in this movie did a great job. The old folks were creepy and the children were…childreny. Seriously, though…the kids did a great job. Even the boy in the movie (a lisping thirteen-year-old freestyle rapper) was not at all annoying. It feels weird to type that.
Part of what I have always enjoyed about Shyamalan’s movies is his attention to the characters. This is a quality that is also often absent from horror movies, but Shyamalamamanopoo always makes it a focal point. His characters go on emotional journeys, and they discover new things about themselves as they battle whatever creepy force is opposing them. It is perhaps the most important aspect of his film-making. This quality is once again apparent in The Visit. The children in the film (played by Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould) develop and evolve as the film progresses, and it makes it a more rewarding experience in the end. This sort of character development, combined with the humor that is always present in M. Night Light’s movies, creates a lasting experience that I really enjoyed.
The Visit features another fun and interesting twist, which Shamalamadingdon has been known for since the very beginning. Even though these moments are often predictable, I still love them. I do my best to watch twist-heavy movies with an open mind, and I try not to think about what the twist might be. It makes the whole experience much better, as I am focused on the entire voyage, rather than one pivotal moment. The Visit delivered the sort of twist I was hoping for. Say what you want about Nighty Night Shyamalan, but his style is something that is needed in the horror community. I think that style has been masked over the years by an ever-increasing budget and pressures from production companies, but The Visit was a return to form and I hope he keeps walking this path.
Can I point something out here? We can see from the trailer that The Visit focuses on a creepy older couple who are being visited by their grandchildren. What we do not see (and I think this is a negative image that is perpetuated by the media for the sake of ratings) is that The Visit is really a love story about a couple that has grown old with each other and continues to stick it out through thick and thin. Sure, they are a little eccentric, but what old person isn’t? To show these oldies in a negative light is a complete disservice to the very idea of love. Their weirdness and murderous undertones makes their love even more beautiful, and it makes their bond stronger. I can only hope to make it to that age with a love that is equally lasting and psychotic.
Overall, I loved The Visit. In a day and age of so many crappy horror movies, The Visit acts as a return-to-form for M. Night Shyamalan. With great acting, a genuinely creepy story, and a fun twist, The Visit deserves to be watched and recognized for the great movie that it is. I give it four and a half out of five.