This is going to be one of the hardest reviews I’ve written in a long time because I hate scary movies but I’m a huge fan of old M. Night Shyamalan. So if you disagree with my review, know that it’s coming from that place. You might love it.
But here’s my two cents.
Two kids go to visit their Grandma (Deanna Dunagan) and Grandpa (Peter McRobbie). The girl (Olivia DeJonge) is an aspiring filmmaker so she documents the whole week with her camera. The boy (Ed Oxenbould) wants to be a rapper so he’s constantly freestyling. They have never met their grandparents because their mother (Kathryn Hahn) left home when she was young, not on great terms. So they’re going to spend a week there and get to know them. However, on the first night, things start to go wrong as they discover their grandparents might be dangerous. I’ll leave it at that.
Again, I’m 1.) not used to scary movies and 2.) not a fan of scary movies. I’m a scaredy cat. With that said, I slept with a light on after seeing this movie. It all takes place in a house at night, so when you live by yourself and go back to your empty place, it was terrifying. So I’m counting this as a positive because most of you probably want the jumps and scares. There’s a few jump moments but it’s more creepy and, at some parts, disgusting. If you want that, you might really enjoy The Visit.
I also really enjoyed Ed Oxenbould, last seen as the title character in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. He’s hilarious but sometimes the humor is a strange fit for the movie. Overall the movie was really funny, often intentionally, but I think it might confuse people as to what the tone of the movie is.
What doesn’t work?
Like I just said, the tone of the movie is confusing. There would be some horrifying moment, followed by a joke, followed by an unintentionally corny moment. Most laughs were intentional but there were also times that you would chuckle because of horrible acting or strange timing.
The daughter, our lead, was incredibly annoying. Her dialogue was written to come off like a pompous filmmaker, which might have been M. Night’s intention, but it made me hate her. It could’ve been done smartly but I felt like the dialogue was too on the nose (like when he cast himself as the visionary world-changing author in Lady in the Water).
I also felt like they overplayed the “What’s the twist?” card by constantly opening up new mysteries and trying to keep you guessing, instead of telling a good story. Most of these confusing mysteries don’t get referenced, seem out of place, or just don’t make sense. Without spoiling anything, as an example, there are a few visitors to the house over the course of the week that don’t really make sense (and a few stretched coincidences to go along with them).
This reaffirmed why I don’t see scary movies. While this had plenty of jump scares, creepy moments, and disgusting twists, I don’t know if it was a well made movie. Even without appreciating the genre, the acting was subpar (especially the daughter as the lead), the tone of the movie felt confusing, and the plot starts to unravel if you really think about the movie afterwards. If you’re a fan of the genre, maybe go check it out and let me know how this compares to other similar movies these days.