Wow, it feels like forever since I put together a ‘Late to the Party’ post.
While discussing our favourite horror films at work I was chatting to my friend Flora and she recommended I watch The Visit, one of M Night Shyamalan’s creations.
I told her I wasn’t sure, I thought the trailer looked comical more than scary what with the crazy old people running around naked but I thought I’d give it a go. So, a couple of Saturdays ago I popped to good old CEX and grabbed a copy for £4 – right before I went over to Bill’s and scoffed a huge plate of blueberry buttermilk pancakes which I’m still thinking about now…Ahem.
I like a good family film night and now that I live with my parents it could occur on any night of the week. We all found a spot on the sofa and settled down to watch The Visit, not really expecting it to be any good but with higher expectations than The Gallows that we had watched the night before – which is a truly cheesy horror movie if you fancy giving it a go.
Plot: Two kids go to stay with their estranged grandparents to film a documentary that might provide some closure for the Mother who ran away from home as a teenager. But they soon realise old Nanna and Pop Pop are a little crazy…
I’ve always found children and old women creepy in horror movies and they’re always used in such a way that evokes that feeling and M. Night Shyamalan uses this to his advantage. It sound weird but I think what really freaks you out at first is how spritely the old lady is, there’s a moment under the crawl space of the house and she moves fast for an elderly woman.
You’ll have probably seen in the trailer there’s lots of weird antics that take place at night, with Nanna running around naked, scratching at walls and later asking the kids to get in the oven but they’re not as comical when you’re watching the film. You might let out a little nervous laughter but at the same time you’re just thinking ‘what is wrong with this woman? Is she actually dangerous or just a bit mad?’ And Pop Pop isn’t any better, when he isn’t putting shotguns in his mouth, he’s dressing up for a costume party that isn’t actually taking place.
The kids are extremely pretentious and you really dislike them at first, but there are reasons for their obnoxious behaviour. Also, something I didn’t actually notice at first and will point out now was the brother’s fear of germs – he uses tissues to touch things like light switches and door handles – which later is important and makes something that happens even more horrifying.
It’s another horror where the characters record the story themselves on a handheld camera, but don’t worry it isn’t the type of film that makes you feel nauseous and you get to see everything that’s going on. The camera is cleverly used as a light, although in some of the situations the kids find themselves in I think I’d have left the damn thing behind. Instead, it makes you feel closer to the characters and their experiences.
It’s hard to write a review without spoiling the film too much, but what encouraged me to watch it was the promise of a brilliant surprise twist at the end that Shyamalan is of course famous for – we all remember our first viewing of Sixth Sense. And I can tell you, while I kind of guessed it as it got closer to the reveal, it didn’t make it any less terrifying. This movie is definitely more of a thriller than a horror and you should watch it for the twist alone.
Overall The Visit is tense, shocking, funny at times and very well done. It’s a film I think I’ll watch again in a couple of months, even though the initial shocks and tense moments will be expected. I recommend you give it a go, pay no mind to the slightly comical trailer.