M. Night! You’ve done it again, you magnificent bastard. Not since THE SIXTH SENSE has M Produced a picture as good as THE VISIT. Don’t get me wrong, I liked SIGNS. Hell, I even liked THE VILLAGE. However, M. Night has a repertoire of real stinkers. LADY IN THE WATER, THE HAPPENING, and — ugh — AFTER EARTH.
This isn’t about the flops, though. This is about Mr. Shyamalan scaring the SHIT out of me again. His filmmaking style is admirable to say the least. In 94 minutes I laughed, I jumped, I covered my eyes and ears, and I had my mind blown. This is the kind of filmmaker I aspire to be someday.
THE VISIT, as you may have guessed is about two children visiting their grandparents. Tyler (the ADORABLE Ed Oxenbould) and his sister Becca (Olivia DeJonge) set out to meet their grandparents in the house their mother (Kathryn Hahn) grew up in. The relationship between Mom and her folks is a complicated one, so instead of going along, she uses the opportunity to take a vacation with her beau.
Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) seem like your average grammy and grampy. Naturally, they live in a house out in the middle of nowhere and do all kinds of strange stuff. That’s just kinda how movie gramma and gramps get along. I don’t recall when I truly got the gist of what kind of weird shit was going on. It might’ve been the first dose of Nana’s moneymaker. It might’ve been when Nana asked Becca to get in the oven to clean it. Like I said, I don’t know.
I’ve never cleaned an oven, but I’m pretty sure you don’t have to get inside of it to clean it.
Anyway, Little Becca Scorsese is making a documentary of the entire experience and subsequently captures some creepy images. These are bright kids. It doesn’t take them long to figure out something is amiss.
One time, I took a shower at my grandmother’s house and shaved my armpits with no shaving cream. I told her later of how it stung afterward and she called me an idiot. Love you grandma. I’m telling you this because it doesn’t hold a candle to some of the things that come out of Nana’s mouth.
I fell in love with this movie swiftly and with reckless abandon. Oxenbould and DeJange are both Aussies and you’d never know it. The two look like they could actually be siblings. The brother-sister chemistry was off the charts. However, I must say that I was overwhelmingly impressed by Oxenbould’s performance. This kid made the whole damn movie. Under his rapper name, T-Diamond Stylus, Tyler freestyles about Pineapple Upsidedown cake and gives viewers a real treat during the credits.
I am over the moon about THE VISIT and I hope you’ll go see it too. It’s difficult to make a movie that makes audiences laugh out loud but scares them just same without becoming slapsticky. Much like when I make one perfect grilled cheese and I make another one that never turns out as gooey and golden brown, I’m not sure if M should try for another gold star. For now, let us bask in the glow of this glorious little masterpiece. Oh, and don’t go in the basement.