Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Now on HBO: The Visit (2015)

The Visit (2015) - Written and Directed by M. Night Shyamalan; Starring Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn.

By Kenny Howell

M. Night Shyamalan began his recent Shyamalanaissance with this fun little horror film about two kids visiting with the grandparents they have never met.

Becca and Tyler's mom needs a vacation, so she sends the kids to stay with their grandparents. Some past issues have kept the kids away from their grandparents all these years. Their mom, played by Kathryn Hahn (Captain Fantastic), sends them on a train to their house, and she sets out on a cruise.

It is apparent early on that there is not something right with their grandparents. Becca chocks it up as old age getting the best of them, but things get progressively weirder, like their grandmother pacing around at night, clawing at the walls, making odd sounds, etc. Tyler isn't buying it though, and he uses the kids camera to document what may be happening.

Shyamalan did exactly what he needed to do and got back to basics with this one. It is a Blumhouse project so that means the budget is small, locations are to a minimum, and things aren't wasted. It is sort of a found footage, as the kids are making a movie of their trip, and nearly all of the action is contained in the grandmother's house. Shyamalan takes the best of the opportunity and confines the kids to slowly degrading hell. The found footage style isn't even all that distracting as played out as that format is. Things get creepier and creepier until things finally come to a head in a bizarre, great conclusion. I think there could have been a little more clarification with what was actually going on, but as a small horror film, Shyamalan shows why he exploded so many years ago. With the recent Split as well, he might be back on the right track.

The Visit is now streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.

Rating: ***

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