THE VISIT (2015)
M Night Shyamalan’s had a potted career but I’ve often enjoyed his movies so I thought THE VISIT was worth a shot.
First up, I’m not a fan of the found-footage genre in general. It can only show the audience what is really there, it cannot show us images from the mind’s eye of a protagonist. In the horror genre, this is a major drawback as so much of what scares us is mere illusion.
Anyway, THE VISIT doesn’t feel too much like a found-footage movie. Similar to Shyamalan’s SIGNS (2002), the setting is an isolated farmhouse and like many of his films, the film’s leads are children. In a nut-shell, this is a bit like hansel-and-gretel with the kids increasingly freaked out by strange behaviours exhibited by their grandparents (pop wears nappies that he disposes of in a shed; grandma crawls over the floor at night etc.).
Shyamalan doesn’t get the balance between comedy and horror right, and the film just simply isn’t in any way scary. That will disappoint some, but for the most part the performances of the kids and their grandparents are interesting enough to keep the audience engaged. There’s also an emotional maturity to the backstory which adds a vital layer and is the source of more than one poignant scene. In a move most welcome, the finale gets quite grim and jettisons itself from the preceding light-hearted spirit which defines the majority of the film. But it’s too little too late.
Overall, a film which is certainly worth a watch but one which doesn’t really know what it is.
hotdog rating: 5/10