Monday, October 24, 2016

30 Days of Nightmares #24: THE VISIT (2015)

The Story: Two kids spend a week with their estranged grandparents.  Weirdness runs in the family.

Expectations: M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed this movie.  I feel like I have to ignore that, because Shyamalan movies come with either ridiculously high or ridiculously low expectations these days. Personally, I still get enthusiastic when I see his name above the title—because I genuinely like THE SIXTH SENSE, UNBREAKABLE, SIGNS, DEVIL and even (to some degree) THE HAPPENING.  On the other hand, I was disappointed by THE VILLAGE, LADY IN THE WATER, and AFTER EARTH. 

But THE VISIT is also a Blumhouse release—and they’ve had a pretty good track record lately (see THE GIFT, HUSH, and CREEP). 

Reaction: Patrick Bromley, over at F This Movie!, has been running his own annual Scary Movie Challenge, prompting listeners to write and post 7-word reviews for every film they watch in the month of October.  I have not been participating very much, because I can’t write 7-word reviews.  I’m just not clever enough.  But a 7-word review inadvertently popped into my head while I was watching this movie:

“Old people are scary.  Especially when naked.”

Conveniently, this review also sums up THE SENTINEL (1977).

What else can I say about THE VISIT?  I found it alternately unsettling and obnoxious (which I supposed is inevitable for any film that combines found footage and 12-year-old whiteboy rapping).  Thankfully, toward the end, the film gets more unnerving and less obnoxious.  I love the scene where grandma introduces the phrase “the deep darkies.”  The vague weirdness of that phrase is emblematic of the film as a whole.  What exactly is the threat?   I’m not going to spoil it… but I will say that the film remains unnerving even once you’ve figured out Shyamalan's “twist” ending.

Most Nightmare-Worthy Moment: Grandma's oven.

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