Monday, October 05, 2015
Paula has not spoken to her parents in 15 years due to an unspecified incident she does not wish to discuss. However her parents locate her through social media and request that their grandchildren come visit them for a week in remote Pennsylvania farm country. Although Paula is against this plan her children, Becca and younger brother Tyler, plead with her to meet their grandparents as well as film the occasion for a documentary they are making about their family. Reluctantly Paula agrees to this plan and soon sees them off on a train. Arriving in Pennsylvania the children are greeted by Nana and Pop Pop who welcome them to their sprawling farm house. Initially things go well as Nana cooks them sumptuous meals and Pop Pop teaches them about farming. However the siblings soon notice bizarre behavior. Nana paces around the house late at night and Pop Pop seems to have secrets in his shed. After the children raise some concerns Pop Pop suggests that it is probably a good idea for them to remain in their bedroom after 9:30pm because Nana tends to ‘sundown’. Following some unsettling incidents the children begin to fear for their lives.
M. Knight Shyamalan is the Kajagoogoo of film directors. He made exactly one good film, ‘The Sixth Sense’, 16 years ago (don’t give me any of that “Unbreakable was great” crap) and he has been coasting on that success with increasingly horrible fare (“The Lady in the Water” being his lowest point). After suffering through ‘The Happening’ I vowed to avoid any of his future work (‘After Earth’ looked dreadful). However, the trailer for ‘The Visit’ was simply too intriguing to resist. I love the simple premise and the secluded setting. Adding to the bleakness of the situation Shyamalan wisely chooses to set his tale in the dead of winter. Cell phones don’t work, of course (an apparent necessity in modern horror). There are some good scares as well as a few funny 1-liners. If I had one criticism it is that the 15-year old female character is a bit too precocious for my taste. More than once I thought, “A teen would never say that!” However I’m just being nitpicky. Like all of M. Night’s films there is no reason to ever watch it twice however ‘The Visit’ is a return to form and is his best film in 16 years. Go check it out!