The Visit

The Visit
E-verybo-dy have fun tonight...Photo: Universal Pictures

4Why I Saw It: Press screening and still pulling for Shyamalan, hoping he slingshots back to his glory days.
What I Thought: Shyamalan is back, and it’s great to see!

The Visit. Dir. M. Night Shyamalan. Perf. Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn. Universal Pictures, 2015.

Comedic thriller about two kids who spend a week getting to know the grandparents they’ve never met.

Despite several increasingly disappointing outings, M. Night Shyamalan has hit his sweet spot once again.

Does The Visit reach the greatness of The Sixth Sense or Signs? No, but recreating miracles isn’t a fair bar to set for any artist. It is, however, one heckava lot stronger than The Village and The Happening and- oh nevermind the list (including, apparently, The Last Airbender, which I actually liked but don’t have the expertise to judge, and those who do rather abhorred).

All “why didn’t x notice y” peculiarities tie beautifully to pre-determined answers, everything can be interpreted in at least two ways until the final reveal, all is perfectly fine except you know it isn’t, and the ending satisfies beautifully. (I especially loved the gentle swipes Shyamalan takes at the found-footage movement, building in someone focused on actual, thoughtful filmmaking vs. simply running the camera and one’s mouth and calling it art.)

The only reason it didn’t earn top stars from me is that it doesn’t reach as far into the nature of reality that I’ve come to love from him (a la Signs and The Happening, weak as it was), but that aspect is extra credit.

The Visit is funny (really!) and boasts excellent performances, especially from burgeoning talent Ed Oxenbould (a mashup of Ellar Coltrane and Michael O’Keefe with a personality all his own). Tony winner Deanna Dunagan singlehandedly defines the film’s wild swings, and Peter McRobbie, reigning for years as one of my favorite Law & Order judges, is now my favorite grandpa… or is he?

Health leaves me without the proper juice to do it justice this week, thus I leave you with this simpatico gem of a piece from our friends over at the Alamo Drafthouse via Birth.Movies.Death. (minor spoiler alert!).

Chime in

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *