Drop Some Dope Rhymes And Make ‘The Visit’ To Grandma’s (Movie Review)

The VisitI feel like a broken record saying this, but never in a million years did I ever think I’d be back in a theater seat giving another M. Night Shyamalan film a chance, or even a second thought for that matter.  After Earth and The Last Airbender were the straw that broke the camel’s back for me (not to mention ones previous to those), but you have to admit The Visit does look freaky cool and crazy interesting in its theatrical trailers, doesn’t it?  Of course it does!  So primarily speaking, that’s the real reason we are all gathered here investing in and reading this movie review today.  M. Night Shyamalan has your attention, and most of all, your curiosity.  Remember, that’s what killed the cat so tread carefully here.  However, don’t fret!  Let me be your guide.  Take this plunge with me.  Here goes nothing!  Off to grandma’s house we go!

The Visit is billed as a horror film and is both written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.  Yeah, I understand.  That combination also makes me very weary too.  However, I digress.  If it means anything to you, and to me it kind of does because this man has ben on fire as of late (very hot to the touch), producer Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions are included in the credits.  The Universal horror movie stars Kathryn Hahn, Ed Oxenbould, Peter McRobbie and Benjamin Kanes.  So now that we got that out of the way I figure it would be wise to spend a paragraph or two discussing what The Visit is really all about with don’t worry…no spoilers for you!

Our tale is one of two young siblings, Rebecca (Olivia De Jonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould).  Their divorced mother (Kathryn Hahn) decides to send her kids to stay at their estranged grandparents’ house (played by Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) while she enjoys a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation in hopes of finding a second chance with love.  An interesting tidbit to note is that the mother character goes on the very same Royal Caribbean boat that Kori Kemerer and I sailed on this past April, but I digress.  Also to note, I used the word estranged to describe the grandparents simply because the siblings have never met them before and the mom hasn’t seen them either since she left home at age 19.  Weird, huh?  It’s almost like leaving your kids with total strangers in a roundabout way if you give serious thought to it.

The siblings quickly discover that their grandparents’ behavior is downright creepy and deeply disturbing (that’s what I love about this movie).  Despite being warned not to come out of their room past 9:30 P.M., their curiosity and hunger cravings get the best of them.  But it’s not always what goes bump in the night that’s terrifying and disturbing here.  No way!  These grandparents are bat sh1t crazy no matter what time of the day it is (another plus the movie has going for it).  So when they initially fail to convince their mother to come to their rescue, they are essentially left on their own to go face-to-face with the untold horrors and mysteries that await them at grandma and grandpa’s house.  I guess you can call this a case of evil elders.  I call it run to the hills and get the hell out of Dodge.  Haha.

So you can hopefully tell how much fun I had with this film just by the way I described it up above.  Using a parenthesis or two to highlight key emotions that were invoked within me doesn’t hurt matters either.  However, what I want to do next here is chat about all the good things that work here (and thank the gods too because M. Night needed this win to save what was left of his shaky filmmaking reputation) and briefly touch upon what maybe could have been improved upon to further bolster this score.  Let’s get down to business.  Do you want to crawl into my stove and clean it?  Haha.  I’m just messing with you, but now seriously.  It does need cleaning!  Haha.  I’m just messing with you.  No, really!

Here’s my take on the whole M. Night dilemma.  Instead of laughing at him, like in his last few efforts, we’re laughing with him in The Visit.  It’s all good, creepy fun to be had despite the found footage way it was all told, which almost turned me off right from the start (you have no idea how much I hate this raw style of shooting).  I wouldn’t call it an overall triumph for the man, but I will say it’s frightfully a return to form for him.  If he can craft a tale like this and make me laugh as hard as I did, then I’m ready to give him another chance to see what he has up his sleeves next.  You picking up what I’m dropping?  I’m glad because it’s those dope rhymes I want to address next.

Make no mistake about it, Ed Oxenbould steals the show here.  From his innocence and rapping skills to his puberty stricken awkwardness, the lad will have you in stitches quite a lot throughout.  But wait!  I know what you’re thinking.  This is a studio horror flick, right?  Why yes it is!  Make no mistake about that either.  This film will excel in startling you and making you jump, but probably not as much as the uneasy, uncomfortable feelings it will give you from disturbing sights that just can’t be unseen to two of the craziest old people you’ve ever seen.  This flick forces a lot of horror taboo down your throat, but like Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell, it’s all in good fun.  And be thankful too as if you know anything about M. Night’s movies, you know he can really pull you far down the rabbit hole and severely disappoint.  Thankfully, this one doesn’t, disappoint that is.  It actually plays out more like a character study, multiple ones really, of people trying to find themselves again in life.

So on the flip side, it’s hard to tell whether The Visit really does finds itself, struggling back and forth between the horror and comedy paths I talked about up above.  I was hoping for this film to be terrifying, but unlike the Paranormal Activity films it was not.  It’s just that when the narrative finally settles and the tables are turned you are like really?  That was all?  It’s not a deep thinker, but more of a comedic exploitation kind of horror flick.  I think it will do alright for M. Night, but it’s not going to make you say this is his undeniable second coming.  It’s passable and pleasing, but because of the found footage style (since I hate it so much), it will never be anything more than rental for me and a springboard to say maybe M. Night is on his way back up again.  I sure hope so.  However, after all my ranting, I still recommend taking “the visit” to grandma and grandpa’s house this weekend.  It’s a romping good time with no deep commitments.  I had fun with this one and so should you.

The Visit Movie Poster


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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