by Ujjesa Dhanak
Spine-tingling with bursts of comedy that effectively ease the tension, M. Night Shyamalan’s
The Visit tells the story of a touching family reunion gone sour. A single mother sends her
two children to meet their estranged grandparents for the first time, but little do they know
that everything is not as it seems. The movie is shot through the lens of a home camera as
the elder daughter films a documentary in hopes of healing her damaged family.
However, we see the opposite happen from the perspective of 15-year-old Becca and her
younger brother Tyler. Soon after the sibling’s arrival, they notice strange behavior from
their grandparents. They set a strict bedtime of 9:30 and forbid the children from entering
the basement, claiming they have a mold problem. As tension mounts, the kids begin to
suspect something strange is afoot and attempt to do some sleuthing with their cameras.
Rather than putting their worries to rest, their investigations confirm their suspicions and
their worst nightmares come to life in the form of a seemingly benign elderly couple. The
action builds up to a classic M. Night Shyamalan twist ending that leaves viewers with a
sense of unease that lingers long after leaving the theater.
Shyamalan uses a sort of found-film technique through the daughter’s documentary that
contributes to the story but is without the shaky camera effects that can sometimes be
frustrating to watch. The suspense of the film is interspersed with occasional comedy that
does not feel forced and goes well with the overall tone of the film without lessening the
impact of the horror.
The Visit was released September 11 and is showing at the Wehrenberg and the Carmike
Wynnsong in Cedar Rapids as well as the Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville. Though this film may
not be ideal for die-hard horror aficionados, it may appeal to people who enjoy the
occasional scary movie. While a fun watch, it was not highly innovative or memorable. I
would give The Visit three and a half out of five stars.