M. Night Shyamalan returned to the thriller genre with a limited budget but a clever idea. The Visit tells the tale of two kids Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) and their visit to their grandparents. Their mom (Kathryn Hahn) has not seen their grandparents in years and still refuses to go with them. They go out to a visit an isolated house where Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie).
Everything seems fine at first. Becca is making a documentary film, which gives the excuse of carrying around the camera. Tyler hopes to be a freestyle rapper, which is a source of comedy throughout the film. From the first night, the kids notice that the grandparents act strangely. Pop pop warns them that they should not come out of their rooms after 9:30 at night.
Their grandmother chases after them in a terrifying crawl during the day when they are playing hide-and-seek under the house. She is filmed vomiting and scratching the wall at night. The grandfather has delusions of paranoia and hides his diapers in a cabin. They receive visits from the mental institute at which the grandparents counsel. The visitors talk of strange occurrences. The movie is filled with humor and horror in a great balance. Due to the divorce and abandonment of their father, each kid has issues. Tyler is a germaphobe and Becca will not look at herself in the mirror.
The twist is simple and scary with a sudden, subtle jolt that adds to the terrifying climax. The movie sets it up and makes this a triumphant return for the master of plot twists. Once it is revealed, the tension mounts. The strange behavior has a sinister tone that made this one of the better horror movies of 2015. The handheld camera didn't detract from the narration too much and the documentarian Becca explains the after-the-fact editing.
The Visit marked a solid return for M. Night Shyamalan as he proved that he could master horror without a large budget. This movie gives me high hopes for Split that I hope to catch tomorrow. Shyamalan had a rough decline and strayed away from the thriller genre for awhile but his return is pleasing news to horror fans. He was once known for making smart horror with a good ending twist, though not the simple jump scares of typical horror fare, he returned to that with this movie.