Like most of you, there isn’t enough time in a day for us here at Mangled Matters to enjoy all of the creepy films we want to see. Sometimes, good flicks get forgotten about. Sometimes, we make the all-too-frustrating mistake of picking a clunker over a gem.
But fear not, loyal readers! Mangled Matters’ very own Krystina Hamelin has you covered. From time to time, she’ll be checking out one of those flicks on our dusty Must Watch list and giving her thoughts.
Tonight, she gives her thoughts on M. Night Shyamalan’s 2015 creeper, The Visit. I’ve always said you can never trust senior citizens..
The Visit was definitely M. Night Shyamalan’s “welcome back” after some clunkers! Following 2010’s The Last Airbender and 2013’s After Earth, the Master of Surprise Endings was due for a triumphant return!
The film starts with Loretta (Kathryn Hahn) reliving her mistake of leaving home when she was 19 for her daughter Becca’s (Olivia DeJorge) documentary. Mom explains the hurt of leaving home with a man that ends up having two kids with her and soon leaves to be with another woman, all while her parents have cut all ties and sorely disapprove of their daughter’s choice.
Out of the blue, Loretta’s parents reach out to her, wanting to get to know their grandchildren. Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) invite Becca and her younger brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) to stay at their country farm home for a week, while mom goes on a cruise with her new boyfriend. I adored the relationship between mother and her children, whom she affectionately referred to as “brats”. The exchanges between the three of them felt genuine and warm.
Nana and Pop Pop wait for the kids at the train station and once they meet, everyone seems eerily quiet, but happy to see each other. Becca wants to create this documentary as what she calls “the elixir” for their mom, who is still pained over her parents’ rejection. She hopes the whole time to speak with her grandparents about the situation, but something always seems off about Nana when the topic is brought up.
Nana right away has the “grandma out of a fairytale” attitude, complete with cookies fresh out of the oven and her gray hair in a bun. Pop Pop seems to be obsessed with his shed, but is sweet and caring in a strange way. Shit gets weird right off the bat, with Nana having a strange need for a clean oven, sleepwalking and strange sounds outside Becca and Tyler‘s room door. Pop Pop makes it very clear more than once that bedtime is 9:30 and the kids should stay in the room after that time. The kids Skype with their mom to explain their worries, but she instead try to calm them down with teaching them that all people are odd sometimes and paranoid most of the time.
During the week at their grandparents’ house, the documentary expands to a full-fledged research project on good old Nana and Pop Pop. Becca and Tyler plant camera downstairs in the living room, attempting to find the source of the weird noises and oh my gosh do they find it! Throughout the film, Dunagan really steals the show as the grandmother who is more than a cookie short of a baker’s dozen.
DeJorge and Oxenbould share a typical brother and sister relationship, with Oxenbould taking on the role of the comic relief. The camera angles and filming style would have you believe the documentary was captured by children. For example, Tyler films Becca while questioning her about why she won’t look at herself in the mirror, as the camera zooms all the way in to frame the side of her face and the woods in the background.
As Shyamalan is known for, a twist comes hard and shocks harder. The Visit reels you in. It confuses you while you gaze into darkness. And just when you feel safe, the camera turns and HOLY HELL, WHAT IN THE…
Doors squeak, lights dim and the kids carry cameras the whole time. Shyamalan went for the creep factor with this one and while it had a few jump scares, I wouldn’t call it terrifying. Creepy, fun flick that I highly recommend!