by Lisa Li
M. Night Shyamalan, director and producer, skillfully weaves central themes of Hansel and Gretel, a children’s fairy tale, into the highly anticipated film, The Visit. Shyamalan faced major criticism towards the production of this movie. Once touted as the next Steven Spielberg, he is now known for his notoriously cringe-worthy flicks.
"Heavier on comic relief (most of it intentional) than genuine scares, this low-budget oddity could score decent opening weekend B.O. and ultimately find a cult following thanks to its freakier twists and turns," Geoff Berkshire from Variety writes. "But hardly represents a return to form for its one-time Oscar-nominated auteur."
Personally, I thought that this film was insanely hilarious. The siblings Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) and Becca (Olivia DeJonge) travel alone to meet their grandparents whom they’ve never met before. I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cringe at Tyler’s desperate attempts of freestyling raps and Becca spouting filmography terms. Their personalities clash to create a painfully amusing environment within the inevitable tension coming from their grandparents, played by Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie.
Shyamalan shot the film using found footage in the perspective of the two siblings who decided to record their visit. Some critics see this as a desperate attempt to revamp his production style with this dated video format.
In the trailer, the grandmother, Doris, asks Becca to get inside the oven, and the scene ends with her getting inside. The movie scene proved to be extremely anticlimactic, as Becca goes in only to clean the oven and coming out unscathed. The second time she went in the oven Doris closed the door on her entirely, but acted like she only wanted to clean the outer glass. Again, she got out alive.
The jump scares were scaled down to a minimum and weren’t very scary at all. However, the comedy felt a bit forced, usually through Tyler’s freestyling.
The only remotely terrifying scene took place at the end, when Becca was locked in a room with Doris, who was bent on killing her. Doris hid under the bed and jumped out, smashing Becca and her camera against the mirror positioned above the bed. Becca then pries a shard from the shattered mirror and continually stabs Doris while screaming, as she was trying to strangle Becca.
Tyler was in a similar situation, and it ended with him tackling John to the floor and repeatedly slamming a refrigerator door on his head, only stopping when Becca calms him down.
Some high school students who watched the movie had several different reactions to the thriller/comedy.
“The Visit is hands down, the best worst movie I have ever seen.”
“Some parts were stupid, like when the grandma spilled some cake batter but only on the camera of the computer. It was very funny though, and eh scary.”
“The oven scene was so disappointing.”
“I think that the movie The Visit was hilarious. It isn’t as scary as I thought it would be but I would watch it again because it’s hilarious.”
The Visit is still in theaters! Catch the movie and decide for yourself; movie comedy or horrific disaster.