In the wake of the recent divorce of their parents, two children spend two weeks with their grandparents whom they have never met before due to late fight with the children’s mother. However not too long into the stay the children notice that something is not quite right. They document their stay, and this footage is what we see.
Now before you realise that The Visit is yet another found footage movie and start to roll your eyes into the back of your skull whilst groaning in a slumped position of pure tedium. Let me assure you that you hardly notice it’s found footage at all, other than in the parts where is particularly suits the narrative. The cam is not especially shaky, and unlike in films like Paranormal Activity 2-5 it doesn’t feel the need to show the viewer insanely mundane things to make it seem realer.
In fact the way the Visit makes it feel real is by – gasp – having well written and thought out characters. The children are real children, and as such we get everything that comes with that good and bad. The grandparents are real grandparents. Every interaction is much like one you’ve probably had yourself. It’s actually rather brilliantly written. As I sort of mentioned earlier there are setbacks with having realistic characters, especially when they are children. Because real life children are actually pretty irritating at times. And the male child is very irritating. His rapping is actually toe curling, but I have met children of this age and can confirm that it is very accurate, although possibly it does affect your caring for this character later on.
It’s also refreshing to see a horror film, not rely soley upon jump scares with loud bangs. Sure there are a few, but most of the scares in The Visit come from creepy set pieces, like the grandma standing naked against a wall scratching furiously in a kind of demonic way. They are very grounded scares, not based on anything particularly supernatural. At each of them I found myself thinking that “you know what that would be damn creepy” because you believe the things that are happening.
Overall, it’s nice to see Shyamalan making a good movie again. It’s only been 14 years. And The Visit really is fantastic, combining fantastically well written characters with genuinely creepy scenes and some heartfelt moments as well. It’s not perfect, it has aspirations to be a comedy but I never really found it funny. This is however a small set back. You should definitely check it out.