Thursday, February 23, 2017

Movie Review: The Visit (2015)

The Visit (2015) written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Teenage siblings Becca and Tyler go to visit their estranged grandparents in rural Pennsylvania. Their mom ran out on the grandparents when she was 19. She fell in love with an older man, the father of Becca and Tyler. He has since left for California with another woman. She'd like to go on vacation with her new boyfriend, so to give her a break, the kids agree to the visit. Becca is also an aspiring film maker. She brings her camera and plans to document their week getting to know their grandparents and hopefully find a way to reconcile them to her mom. It's a sweet idea. Unfortunately, the grandparents' behavior becomes more and more unsettling, leaving the children to doubt their safety in the middle of nowhere.

I was interested to see this since it was touted as Shyamalan's comeback movie. I did find parts of it tense and exciting but the "found footage documentary" style has been done quite a bit and I didn't see anything particularly new here, especially no solution to the "why are they still carrying cameras around?" problem towards the end. The unknown actors are all good in their parts and give their characters humanity. Shyamalan is good at writing smart kids and getting child actors to deliver good performances. I did care about the siblings but the situation is a little too familiar for really big scares or surprises.

Recommended for Shyamalan fans or if you haven't seen a bunch of "found footage" films like The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity.

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