‘The Visit’ Reviews: M. Night Shyamalan’s Most Intense Film Since ‘The Sixth Sense’

The Visit, so far, has mixed reviews, with many saying this is M. Night Shyamalan’s return to success, and others wondering if it will be a flop like his last few films.

The film is quite intense, but it does mix in a bit of humor, whether intentional or not. The story follows two kids Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) who travel to visit their grandparents at their remote Pennsylvania farmhouse. Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) have been estranged from their daughter (Kathryn Hahn), known only as “mom” in the film, so Becca decides to film their entire visit in hopes of achieving closure within her family. Becca’s “found footage” viewpoint is one of the ways the film draws us in.

Things start out normal, with Nana constantly baking and Pop Pop playing board games and chopping wood outside. They seem very welcoming, however, they do have some strange requests. The kids are forbidden to go into the basement because of the alleged mold down there, and they are not allowed to leave their bedroom after 9:30 p.m.

As the week goes on, the grandparent’s behavior becomes somewhat bizarre, especially Nana’s. The kids find her roaming through the crawlspace of the house, sometimes on all fours, and clawing at the walls. Is she suffering from dementia, or something more sinister?

Pop Pop tries to reassure Becca and Tyler, telling them that their grandmother is just “sundowning,” a real term referring to dementia patients reacting restlessly or with aggression when evening approaches, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, while he is making unusual trips to the outdoor shed.

Obviously, something isn’t quite right with the grandparents, and the movie takes a wild ride of twists and turns, revealing what is really going on in their quiet farm house.

M. Night Shyamalan is probably best known for his early successes The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. However, many of his latest films, The Happening, The Village, After Earth, and The Last Airbender have been major letdowns. Shyamalan hoped that by going back to his low-budget roots, he would be able to reclaim his career.

“For me, not having the trailers, not having giant stars and thousands of extras, I don’t mind it,” he said in an interview with JoBlo. “I really like to tell about the characters and insinuate a lot… I like the story-telling style of keeping things a little incomplete and letting the audience fill it in, and this is all in line with that.”

Have you watched The Visit yet? If so, what are your thoughts on the film? Leave your comments below.

[Photo via YouTube video screenshot]