Film Review: The Visit is Funny, Scary and Humane

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Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) sister Becca (Olivia Dejonge) try to tell their mom (Kathryn Hahn) something is horribly wrong in one of the scariest films of the year, The Visit. Writer/director/producer M. Night Shyamalan returns to his roots with the terrifying story of a brother and sister who are sent to their grandparents’ remote Pennsylvania farm for a weeklong trip. Once the children discover that the elderly couple is involved in something deeply disturbing, they see their chances of getting back home are growing smaller every day. Picture: Universal Pictures

The Visit is one of the scariest horror films to come out this year. It’s also funny and shines in portraying the brother-sister relations beautifully.

Becca (Olivia Dejonge) is a fifteen-year-old YouTube documentarian and her two-years-younger brother, Tyler (Ed Oxenbould), a rapper keen on American football.

The sisters are sent by their mom Paula (Kathlyn Hahn) on a weeklong trip to visit their grandparents, Nana and Pop Pop, whom Becca and Tyler have never visited because of a conflict between their mom and the grandparents, which started before Becca and Tyler were even born.

Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) are happy to receive their grandchildren to the isolated country house, far away in rural America. At first, everything seems normal. Becca films, Tyler clowns. Becca speaks highbrow English, Tyler speaks and raps the way 50 Cent does. But when the clock turns 21:30, strange things start to occur.

One night Becca and Tyler hear strange noises outside their door on the first floor. They are surprised to find Nana vomiting around the house, pool after pool. The second night Nana is clawing walls, butt-naked, which almost makes Tyler “blind”.

And that is just the beginning of the weird, scary and funny things starting to evolve around the house.

Becca, hiding from the danger. Picture: Universal Pictures

Becca, hiding from the danger. Picture: Universal Pictures

The Visit is directed, produced and written by M. Night Shyamalan, the Indian director behind, among others, The Sixth Sense (1999), the masterful thriller with the little boy seeing dead people and Bruce Willis watching over his shoulder.

Shyamalan proves again that he’s a craftsman of suspense. In The Visit, he somewhat trusts in the shaky handheld point of view action “filmed” by the children. And just like in The Sixth Sense, he manages to create a touching relationship between the protagonists, in this case amidst Becca and Tyler. The Visit is also filled with kickers, forcing the viewer to think and try to guess the sequence of action which, I am glad to say, is not that obvious and easy.

After the screening, a colleague rose from the seat and said out loud, “This was weird.”

He was right: The Visit is also weird. But in a good way; in a way that makes you think of your brother or sister and the strange, sometimes a scary world we dwell in.

The Visit premieres in cinemas on September 11.

 

Film Review: The Visit is Funny, Scary and Humane
Film
Script
Cinematography
Acting
Directing
Soundtrack
4.0Overall Score