Genuinely hilarious. One of the things that really worked in Shyamalan’s early films is his sense of humor, which is also something he lost in his more recent serious films. Fortunately, his clever sense of humor is back and alive here. The film feels completely ridiculous and it knows this. It’s extremely self-aware and it frequently pokes fun at itself. Don’t fret though- Shyamalan’s general freakiness is also very clear here too. The Visit is downright creepy at parts and really taps into that childlike mentality of old people being weird and terrifying.
Loaded with great performances. Something that’s really shocking about the film is the quality of the performances given- whereas all of them being great. Not good, but great. The two actors playing the grandparents are fantastic at walking the line of being kind and warm while also playing bizarre and frightening. The children actors that we follow throughout the film are equally as great if not better. They start off sort of annoying and stupid but as we get to know them, we really end up liking them. The younger brother is great, he has a pretty big scene towards the beginning of the third act that requires a lot of emotional skill from an actor, especially one that’s as young as he is. It’s very reminiscent of Haley Joel Osment’s performance in The Sixth Sense and works on a level that hasn’t been touched by any of M. Night’s films in a very long time. He completely pulls it off and the end result is crazily touching.
A complete return to form. The Visit is phenomenally well written and has a surprising amount of emotional depth. Shyamalan shows us that he still has the ability to write a really well realized, twisty-turny story that you can look back at and make perfect sense of. Yes, the film does have a twist- and it’s a really smart one that you’re not going to see coming. It’s really inventive, fun and makes the finale of the film that much more satisfying.
What we used to love. The things that we used to love about Shyamalan’s movies are front and center here. He balances the perfect amount of fright and laughter, conjures up a few great performances from his leads and gives us a really unpredictable, yet satisfying thrill ride that feels very reminiscent of an old Goosebumps episode. Which in itself, is something we haven’t seen from Shyamalan in a very, very time. Probably not since Signs has he been this good.
His best film since Signs.