in Movies

‘The Visit’ Review: An Inspired Hansel and Gretel Horror Tale

the visit m night shyamalan

The Visit is M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film about single mother Paula (Kathryn Hahn) who sends her two children, Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) to her estranged parents’ house to spend time with her boyfriend on a cruise. Becca and Tyler, who have never met their grandparents, intend to film a documentary about their visit. They slowly find that their grandparents are more unusual than normal.

The first part that stood out to me watching the film was that Shyamalan chose to film it in found footage style. In his previous films, like The Village, The Sixth Sense, and Signs, they were filmed from a third person narrative.  I appreciated the change in directing style — it’s interesting to know the characters’ thoughts and motives said from their own mouths. I wonder if the direction change might be the influence of the film’s producer Jason Blume, also the producer of the horror found footage series, Paranormal Activity.

There are funny moments in the film, many of them coming from Tyler. He is an aspiring rapper who films himself rapping and making silly faces. Despite being more laid-back than his sister, Becca, he’s first to notice that something strange is going on with their grandparents. He tries to tell his sister that he senses something wrong, but Becca rebuffs him until she sees their strange habits herself.

My favorite scary moment in the film was when the grandmother finds the hidden camera that her grandkids placed to film her nightly habits. She wields a knife and then unsuccessfully tries to barge into their locked room. It was an unexpected jump scare and made me nervous for Becca and Tyler.

Pacing is the worst part, and it’s a weakness in many of Shyamalan’s films. There are scenes in the film that didn’t have to be included, such as the famous “crawl in the oven” scene that was shown in the trailer. It was done again in a different scene, and it was unnecessary because it destroyed the creepiness the first time it was shown.

With nearly all of Shyamalan’s films, there is always a twist. Some of his film’s twists are interesting, other twists are not so much. I’m not going to spoil it, but this twist is in-between. I didn’t see it coming, but it was cliché.

I’d recommend watching this film on DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming providers. It’s one of those films that you can watch if you have nothing better to do.