In my series of M. Night Shymalan movie reviews, The Visit holds a special place. The Visit is the movie in which we saw what M. Night can do again, after a decade – surprise us.
The Visit is about a family. Becca (Olivia DeJonge) is an aspiring documentary filmmaker and her younger brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) is a casual rapper with a serious case of germophobia. Their mother (Kathryn Hahn) is divorced and has just started dating seriously after many years. She fought with her folks when she was very young and left the house to be with the man she thought she loved. But with two kids in and the love fading away, her husband leaves her to fend for herself, Becca and Tyler.
Though the kids appear strong and unfazed, they do have trouble accepting the fact that their parents are divorced and have their own complexes because of it. The movie proceeds to show us that the kids have got in touch with their grandparents – nana and pop-pop and are going to visit them. Mom hasn’t spoken to them yet as she fears they haven’t forgiven her yet.
What seems to be a normal one week stay with nana and pop-pop, turns into something far more spookier and shocking than they anticipated. What happens? Well, I am not going to spoil it for you. But let’s discuss the movie.
The build up is great. I love how M. Night Shyamalan has given these 5 characters so much depth – we get to see their strengths, insecurities, and weirdness. The two kids are great – Tyler especially. He breaks into his rapping to provide comic relief and it really works well to break the scene or tension. Though it is told through the hand-held camera Becca records, there aren’t any scenes where you are left wondering ‘How did we see this when Becca was there’ – it is all logical and tied in well. There isn’t any background score when Becca is recording which is how it would be in real time. So such tiny details have been thought of which is great.
It is a simple story told in a unique way which is what M. Night is so good at. The acting from all, is top-notch (though nana was a little annoying but given the complexity of the character and how she performed it, I shouldn’t complain) and the twist is pretty good. It is a small budget film (5 million is like nothing) which M. Night funded himself so it is even more great to see that such good films can be made in small budgets.
I am glad I saw this – twice now.
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