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Published On: Fri, Sep 11th, 2015

‘The Visit’ Review: M Night Shyamalan delivers great balance of horror and comedy

The Visit is the latest in a growing list of unusual films from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan that will leave you guessing until he’s ready to reveal the bizarre twist.  Opening on September 11, 2015, this PG-13 film comes out just in time to start out the Halloween horror season.

But is it really horror?

Could it possibly be a comedy as well?

Kinda, yeah maybe.

Put yourself in the position of the two main characters, 15 year old Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and her younger brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are going to spend a week with the grandparents they’ve never met.  The two youngsters aren’t doing this out of any great need to bond with Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie), but to give their divorcee mom (Kathryn Hahn) an opportunity to get away with her boyfriend and find romantic happiness once again.

Ed Oxenbould in "The Visit"

Ed Oxenbould in “The Visit”

Starting with a 9:30 bedtime, the kids begin to realize that “old people” are different and full of quirky surprises.  And there lies the comedy.  Teenagers dealing with estranged grandparents, their house rules, and bodily changes that are a natural part of the aging process.  That is, until the horror part kicks in and we realize there’s something more going on with Nana and Pop Pop that just can’t be explained away as normal elderly issues.

Shyamalan does a great job of luring in the audience and calming them down with a series of laugh-out-loud moments mainly surrounding young Oxenbould who stole the show.  Just when you’re thinking this isn’t really going to scare you (those commercials were just meant to trick us, right) and you’ve gotten over the shakiness of the camera (the whole story is told through the kids’ own video footage), the horror jumps right back in your face and carries you straight through to the quick ending of the movie.  Ok, the only thing I gave away is that the horror part is short-lived and at the end of the experience like the biggest drop at the end of a rollercoaster.

If you happen to have kids that haven’t already seen every slasher film out there, The Visit is a good PG-13 introduction to the horror genre.  Personally, I enjoyed the challenge of trying to figure out the twist.

Having seen The Village, Unbreakable, The Happening, and Signs, my mind was racing to all sorts of supernatural explanations, but in actuality, the plot twist is just plain crazy.  And just for good measure, there’s a great life message thrown in at the end…..which is another unusual twist for a horror flick….or is it a comedy?

You decide.

Overall The Visit receives 3 out of 5 stars

Guest Author: Debbie Sage

The Visit movie poster

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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