Movie: The Visit
My Rating: 4 stars
Well, this was an unexpected chiller. I love scary movies, and this one will subtly get under your skin. It’s the latest offering from M. Night Shyamalan, and it was way better than I was expecting. Sure, the movie features a few of his signature jump scares. But, you’ll see most of those in the trailer, and they’re not really what this film is about. It’s about a slowly building creepiness—the slow realization that something is very wrong. The story presents a series of strange, little occurrences. Alone, each one wouldn’t be enough to raise any concerns. But, when you put them all together things really start to get alarming.
The story is about a pair of middle school siblings who are going to visit their grandparents for a week. Their mother has ben estranged from her parents since before she had the kids, so they’ve never met their grandparents before. So, when their new relatives begin behaving strangely pretty early in the visit, the kids are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s always awkward getting to know new people, let alone new people that you’re expected to love. Grandma and Grandpa seem like ideal, loving oldsters. But, there’s something a little manic behind their eyes that sends up a few red flags early on. Then there’s all the crashing and screeching that the kids hear coming from downstairs after they’ve gone to bed each night. That’s when I’d be packing my bags to leave. Although, these kids are trapped because their mom is away on a cruise, and won’t be back for a few more days.
The whole story is told through the lens of the girl’s handheld camera. She’s one of those tech-savvy, little, self-promoting, youngsters who is eventually going to rule the world. And, she’s making a documentary, chronicling this family reunion. This device gives the filmmakers the excuse they need to have a camera running in what would otherwise be private moments. And, it never feels forced. It feels like exactly the kind of thing that one of these future, new-media stars would be doing.
This movie is actually very short at only ninety-four minutes. Shyamalan keeps the story tight and concise, and I really respect that restraint after some of his previous, bloated disasters. So many movies have been ruined by flabby editing. And, the quick pace of this one keeps things very tense. I really enjoyed this movie, and I recommend it to anyone who likes scary movies. So, definitely make sure not to miss this one.