Actors: Ed Oxenbould, Deanna dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn, Olivia DeJonge
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Format: Color, Widescreen, Digital_copy
Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
Region: All Regions
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2016
M. Night Shyamalan self produced The Visit so that he would have complete creative control, implying that his long string of failures had been due to studio meddling. So here is The Visit, presented as the filmmaker intended and allowing the audience to see his true artistic vision, and I’m still not impressed. Although Shyamalan proves that he is able to shed the self-seriousness for a bit of playful genre filmmaking, his abilities as a director are still vastly overwhelmed by his inability to write a deserving screenplay in over a decade.
Cashing in on the low budget format of the found footage style of horror film for the first time, The Visit is the faux documentary made by pre-teens Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) on a trip to meet their grandparents for the first time. They leave their mother (Kathryn Hahn) behind because of a mysterious fight she had with her parents as a teenager, and plan to spend a week alone getting to know their grandparents, Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie). Everything seems to be going well, until the kids begin noticing some disturbing behavior from their grandparents, especially in the evening.
Some of this unexplained nighttime behavior can easily begin to resemble any number of the Paranormal Activity films, though Shyamalan’s withholds any revelations for his final twist, leaving the question of supernatural activity a mystery. It seems that he cheats at points, just to keep the uncertainty alive in the audience, though ultimately the reveal lands like the punch-line to a bad campfire horror story. That’s not to say that the experience can’t be enjoyable under the right circumstances, but it doesn’t offer much to be frightened of on retrospection. It is a bit like horror with the training wheels on; a film I can imagine being frightened of at the age of the characters playing the protagonists.
While this film is nowhere close to being a masterpiece, it lands a bit further up on the scale than the disasters of Shyamalan’s recent filmography. The Blu-ray release of this simple little thriller comes with a DVD and Digital HD copies of the film as well. Special features have additional footage, including an alternate ending and deleted scenes. There is also a making-of featurette and a gallery of Becca’s photos.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 5/10