Set in a small farm town in Pennsylvania, “The Visit” is a story of two young siblings who are sent by their single mother to visit their grandparents for the first time. The plot is portrayed through a series of documentary clips taken by both Becca (Olivia DeJounge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould), her younger brother.
For the first day, everything seems to be comfortably normal. “Nana” (Deanna Dunagan) is a lavish baker, constantly stirring something up for Becca and Tyler. Their grandfather, known as “Pop Pop” (Peter McRobbie), is kind but stiff, never showing much emotion. It’s not until the two siblings start noticing Pop Pop doing odd things with his adult diapers in the shed and Nana stumbling about, projectile vomiting in the early morning hours, that they realize something is very wrong. Each night they find their grandma doing different things, like scratching the walls naked and crawling around the house on all fours. Tyler and Becca attempt to brush it off, but find that it becomes harder as the strange incidents escalate. Eventually they cave and tell their mother about the odd occurrences. This creates a domino effect, first sending the mother into a state of panic, then the two children. The rest of the movie is a montage of predictable scary movie clips: someone hiding under the bed, a crazy man chasing a child, the siblings being attacked, etc. It is a drastic change from the beginning of the movie where every hair-raising scene was abruptly followed by an amusing comment from Tyler. Unfortunately, this montage did not last long.
M. Night Shyamalan has this way with putting people on the edge of their seats in fear and excitement; however, every time I was on the edge of my seat, the scene continued to promptly cut to an image of the pleasant looking farmhouse with bold, red text that read “the next morning.” Considering this was supposed to be a horror movie, the director should’ve held on to these creepy scenes a little bit longer to gain the full effect.
Although the plot was disappointing, M. Night Shyamalan’s great eye for actors shines through, as he makes sure to select the best, yet relatively unknown, cast. This diminishes the risk of having preconceived notions about characters.
As a whole, this twisted fairytale was almost brilliant but fell slightly short. Maybe not worth the visit.