The Visit offers a fun disturbing stay with a great twist.
The Visit is a mystery mockumentary comedy horror movie that feels fresh and has a great twist with endearing characters. It’s a very simple premiss but with great execution that offers an intimate take on the theme of forgiveness and on Becca and Tyler. With unnerving events their stay becomes more disturbing and prepares for an exciting horror twist. This film is all about the main theme and Becca and Tyler but also about the big twist. So it’s advisable to know as little as possible before watching the film. This review contains no spoilers.
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Becca, 15 years old and Tyler 13 years old want to visit their grandparents for the first time. Their mother Loretta hasn’t had contact with her parents for 15 years now and Becca wants to take the opportunity to document their stay and maybe bring her mother and grandparents back together. They also want for their mother to go on a cruise with her new boyfriend. Nana and Pop Pop seem nice people but due to their old age there are some strange things going on. Especially at night. While Nana suffers from some mental problems, Pop Pop has some physical problems. But when things get stranger and and more scary, the siblings decide to capture them on candid camera, and the footage shows some very disturbing stuff.
Why you should watch it
The Visit is a very endearing film. Becca and Tyler both suffer from some disorders after their father had left them. Tyler is obsessed with germs and Becca has low self esteem. But they help each other with their struggles. Tyler is a great character. He is a very natural comic relief, while Becca is more serious. She wants to capture their stay and wants to know who their grandparents are and what exactly happened between them and their mother. What could have been so bad that they haven’t spoken to each other for 15 years and maybe they both can find it in their hearts to forgive each other. Becca and Tyler don’t know anything about their grandparents yet, but while they learn they are good people who do a lot of volunteer work, there also seems to be something off with them.
That makes this film also very disturbing. Nana suffers from sundowning, but that takes weird forms and Tyler believes she might be a werewolf. But Becca assures him that it’s just old age. When they also find some disturbing things regarding Pop Pop, there might be more going on than old age. And Pop Pop’s and Nana’s behavior becomes more and more extreme and weird.
In the meantime Becca and Tyler are on their own. In an unfamiliar environment and with their mom at sea, they have to stick together. They are the focus of the film. They are both very natural and their actions and reactions, while Becca is determined to finish her interviews and documentary, are what makes this film a captivating watch. When also the theme about forgiveness is paramount and it’s what drives the plot and Becca.
But it wouldn’t be an authentic M. Night Shyamalan movie if there wasn’t a huge twist that turns everything upside down. And it’s a great twist that turns this vacation into a horror movie. While the sundowning of Nana and her scary hide and seek game under the house offers already enough scary and unnerving moments in which the feelings of being unsafe and alone are creating real horror, the ending provides for full on horror that is a funny twist and a gruesome idea at the same time.
The structure of the film is excellently done, while bit by bit things get more disturbing and funny. The focus is on both children while the grandparents are the subjects who are cause for some unnerving horror moments. The film is very quiet and intimate. Due to the close up shots of Becca and Tyler, both physically and mentally. It feels very natural and realistic, without accompanying music and due to the many silences in shots. There’s much negative space in visuals and audio that adds a natural vibe, but at the same time adds a foreboding atmosphere as if holding your breath. This film knows how to make you feel uncomfortable in seemingly disturbing yet normal situations. The film is strong in simplicity and it works out in a fantastic way. The twisty ending therefore stands out more and shocks you even more.
My favorite part
The hide and seek game under the house was a brilliant scene. It was funny and scary at the same time and it captured the disquieting feelings of Becca and Tyler in a great way. It was filmed in a way that you felt as if you were there with them, crawling for your life finding your way out of the maze while crazy Nana is out to get you. All in good fun of course. But still. And the scenes when Nana was up at night scratching at the door and walls and vomiting really does make you wonder what is wrong with her and if Tyler might be right after all and that she is indeed a werewolf or something very creepy.
Scare factor: ★★★☆☆
Gruesome factor: ★★★☆☆
Originality factor: ★★★★★
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
Cast and crew
The Visit is directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan. It stars Olivia DeJonge (Becca), Ed Oxenbould (Tyler), Deanna Dunagan (Nana), Peter McRobbie (Pop Pop) and Kathryn Hahn (Mom).
Duration: 94 minutes. Music by: Paul Cantelon. Cinematography: Maryse Alberti. Edited by: Luke Ciarrocchi. Produced by: Marc Bienstock, Jason Blum, M. Night Shyamalan. Production company: Blinding Edge Pictures, Blumhouse Productions. Distributed by: Universal Pictures.