Premise: Two teenage siblings visit their grandparents that they’ve never met before, and it turns out that they might not be all that great of people. The Shyamalan twist? The studios let him put his name on the posters again!
-The scary scenes are actually very well constructed, and kind of frightful. I’m still thinking about some of them today, which is a good thing. I even think the old lady made it into my dreams the night that I saw it. And even though it relied heavily on jump scares, M. Night resisted the urge to add a bunch orchestra swells or excess sound effects. GOOD FOR HIM.
-You bet your balls there’s a Shyamalan twist in this. And… it’s actually kind of good…? In fact, it’s probably his second best twist after The Sixth Sense. I mean, really, what are the other twists? The aliens are allergic to water? The trees are murdering people? The village is really set in modern times? Those aren’t very good twists. The Visit’s twist is at least slightly inspired.
-I approve of Kathryn Hahn in things.
-There seemed like an obvious connection written by Shyamalan that paralleled the broken relationship of the mom character and her estranged parents that felt like it was really supposed to be about Shyamalan and his past, approving audience. The initial love, the hurt feelings, the breaking away, the desperate attempt to win them back… Maybe I was reading into it too hard, but why is this guy inserting so much “love lost” dialogue into his found footage jump scare movie? He’s a smart-ish guy, he’s capable of allegory in a dumb movie. He was once called “the next Steven Spielberg” 15 years ago (which coincidentally is how long the characters have been estranged), then he did a bunch of bad things, and now he’s trying to get in our good graces again. That’s the basic plot of the movie, sans the psychos. And the fact that this is all coming from Shyamalan just makes it kind of hilarious to me. It’s the best way he can communicate to us, to apologize to us; through a flavor-of-the-week genre film that definitely won’t stand the test of time. But it’s his only way. Which is kind of great to think about.
-And there’s naked old lady butt in this movie. Twice! A rare treat! NEKKID GRANDMA!
-Most of the jokes, especially in the first act, fall really flat. Bunch of corny Leno jokes. But, when has Shyamalan ever really been that great of a comedy writer? I don’t think the M. Night stands for Mic Night.
-The teenage girl is insufferable, at least to me. She’s one of those cliché, freshman year film student types that uses phrases like “mise en scene”, “focal depth”, and “cinematic integrity” in every sentence. I saw plenty of those kind of people in college. Heck, I might have even been one of those people at one point in the past. But it’s annoying regardless.
-The whole found footage / fake crappily shot documentary angle could have been written out of this project. I know, it takes more work to write something where the characters aren’t directly talking to camera or saying their actions/emotions out loud, but it could have been done. Then Shyamalan could have had a decent comeback movie with, like, good cinematography or whatever…? But to my point up there in the pros section, he probably needed the found footage thing to get his message off the ground at all.
-I was wondering why they had that one momentum destroying scene with the brother telling his super long football story, and it was so they could bring it back for the ending in the stupidest way possible.
Final Thoughts: This movie is definitely not good, but it’s also not that bad. But for M. Night Shyamalan to turn in C- work, it’s actually a blessing considering the last thing he turned in for evaluation was After Earth. Will he ever have another A grade project? Or even a B+? I wouldn’t expect it from him any more, but he can still graduate with C’s. That’s what I did in high school. But then again, he’s 45… Well, if all else fails, he could open a food truck called The Shyamalan Twist; that serves soft pretzels stuffed with mystery ingredients.
7 out of 10