Film Review - The Visit - 2015
Format: Amazon Prime Language: English Released: 2015
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie
Something I must confess before I start, I clicked on this film by mistake, but due to laziness on my behalf and the fact Kirk, (my dog) ran off with the control, I just couldn’t be bothered to change it; which, as it turns out was a good thing, for I thoroughly enjoyed this little gem of a film.
The film kicks off with Becca (Olivia DeJonge) interviewing her Mother (Kathryn Hahn), as to why she is not on talking terms with her parents. In this direct but short intro, you are not only given the full story of the family troubles and why they have them but also the plot and the style in which the story is told. This as it turns out, is shown entirely through the home recording of siblings Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) in such an engaging way it adds to the end result and does not, as is with so many home recording style films, become boring or off-putting.
What follows is a classic little story with so many twists and turns that it keeps you engaged (at least it did me) to such an extent you are genuinely caught off-guard at the end. This film is all about the story, which is a refreshing thing in these spoon-fed jump scares horror film times we are sadly made to endure. The hand held camcorder style of the film never once becomes annoying, the child actors are not only superbly portrayed by Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould respectably, they are fully likeable and I really became concerned for them as the film when on. Without giving anything away, one scene in particular stands out for me.
When the siblings are in bed and you are shown something going on outside their bedroom door, it switches back in the room where they are debating whether or not to open said door, it had me shouting at the screen urging them not to do it!
Such is Shyamalan’s skill at direction, that this film is littered with these type of moments, it never becomes slow or repetitive but moves at such as pace it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Sometimes funny, sometimes moving, other times just downright scary, The Visit, never overstays it’s welcome. This is reinforced by the characters in the film, as I mentioned before, the two siblings were portrayed perfectly but I feel I should also give a shout out for Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie for their portrayal of Nana and Pop Pop.
This isn’t to say that the film is perfect, it isn’t; there are some areas that feel just a little out of place, some fillers that could have been edited out without anyone noticing but, the biggest gripe for me, was the 'post' ending. Again, without giving anything away, the film should have ended ten minutes earlier. The interview with the Mother at the end, explaining some answers to questions that where best left unanswered should not have been added; nor should the pointless ‘funny’ rap from Tyler at the end credits. This succeeded only in turning the film ending from a genuinely unnerving horror film to a film with a needlessly cheesy, family friendly ending, which was a shame.
All in all however, if you ignore that post ending part, this film is a must for fans of horror, and driven mainly by a strong story and not jump scares or over-the-top gore, and is well worth your time.