M. Night hasn’t had much luck in the recent past. Lady in the Water, After Earth, The Last Airbender, it’s best to use that little flashy-thing from Men In Black and forget those. The Visit is his return to form.
At the beginning of the film we meet Paula Jamison, who is being interviewed by her daughter Becca about Paula’s parents. It does not go well. We find out that Paula has not seen or spoken to her parents in 15 years since she ran off with her children’s father (who himself ran off from the family when the children were young to be with another woman).
Teenage Becca is an aspiring filmmaker. Her younger brother Tyler aspires to be something too; a rapper known as T-Diamond Stylus. They are on their way to meet their grandparents for the first time. This is not only a chance to meet their family, but to find out the reasons why Paula and her parents haven’t spoken in so many years. So Becca and Tyler, who will be credited in Becca’s film as “camera operator B”, film the whole trip.
Everything seems great as Nana and Pop Pop meet their grandchildren for the first time. The cookies are excellent. So good in fact, Becca has to sneak downstairs at night to get another. But then things start to get a little weird. Are the things that happen weird just because old people and their old people lives seem weird to young people? Or is it something more?
This isn’t just another found-footage scary movie, this is more. This has scares, but it also has laughs, tears, drama, and gives you that warm & fuzzy feeling sometimes. It made me think back to the New Zealand movie Housebound that was part of Lost Weekend II. That was a scary movie as well, but it blended the elements of comedy, drama, and suspense into a well rounded film.
I kept asking myself as it went along, is this an alien movie? Is it a crazy person movie? Is this what’s going to happen to me when I get old?
And it is a M. Night Shyamalan movie, so you’re waiting for the twist, you know it’s coming. It was a good twist, but personally I think it would’ve been better if they had been playing twister instead of Yahtzee. I felt the twist made the movie real. It grounded the film in a way that if it had gone the other direction would’ve made the whole thing silly.
So next time you’re feeling really down and things just seem terrible, ask yourself, “Have I had a bloody diaper shoved in my face?” If not, things probably aren’t so bad.