The Visit drives a nail in the coffin of the found-footage format–with a twist!



By Steve Newton

Will M. Night Shyamalan ever clue in? Just because there’s a twist in a movie doesn’t mean the movie’s any good. Sure, he won us all over with that gotcha moment in The Sixth Sense back in 1999, but by the time of The Village, five years later, he’d forgotten to include entertainment with the twist. And things got famously worse for him after that.

The Visit sees the once-revered/despised filmmaker try a different direction, mixing chuckles and chills, but his foray into PG-rated black comedy isn’t funny or scary enough to enliven the done-to-death found-footage format one iota.

The movie follows young Becca and Tyler (Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould) as they’re shipped off by their hardworking single mom (Kathryn Hayn) for a weeklong stay with the grandparents they’ve never met. Fifteen-year-old Becca is a budding filmmaker intent on documenting the entire visit, so we get to see everything through her oft-shaky camera lens. And 13-year-old Tyler is a budding rapper (he calls himself “the Creator”), so we get to hear his hokey, ho-bashing rhymes a lot too.

When the kids first arrive at their grandfolks’ sprawling Pennsylvania farmhouse they appear to be loving–if fairly eccentric–types, pleased to finally see their grandkids. But things get weird pretty quick. The first night Nana (Deanna Dunagan) is seen vomiting zombielike in the hallway; the second she’s wildly scratching at the walls in the nude. Incontinent Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) likes to collect his heavily soiled Depends and store them in a stinking heap in the toolshed.

As the days are counted off the dementia the oldsters must be suffering from gets ramped up, but the novelty of their bizarre behaviour wears thin pretty fast. Nana asks Becca to crawl inside the oven to clean it better, so she does. Then she crawls back out of the oven. So much for that scene.

By the time the patented Shyamalan twist is revealed you’ve had quite enough of watching these kids dutifully record their grandparents’ wacky antics in stunned disbelief. After that the main highlight is seeing a germaphobe get smeared in the face with the nasty contents of an adult diaper.


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