The Visit Blu-ray Review
Paula Jamison (Kathryn Hahn, THE D TRAIN) has had rough time, having been left by her husband some years prior. But now she has found a promising beau that she is going on a Royal Caribbean cruise with. For the weeklong trip, she’ll be leaving her children, Rebecca (Olivia DeJonge, 2014’s THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould, who played the title role in ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY), with their grandparents, who Paula has been estranged from for more than a decade.
This is the first time that Rebecca and Tyler have met their Nana (Deanna Dunagan, better known for her stage performances) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie, who appears in Netflix’s DAREDEVIL), who live in a Pennsylvania farmhouse. While the 13-year-old Tyler is worried there won’t be any cell phone service to send texts, 15-year-old Rebecca has decided to use the time to make a documentary about the visit. (The reason for her passion towards documentary filmmaking isn’t really explained, so it can be assumed by the viewer that it’s just a lame excuse for the movie to be in the found footage style.)
Soon enough, the siblings start to recognize some strange behavior in the elderlies—Nana gets violently ill in the middle of the night, Pop Pop attacks a man on the street for no good reason, Nana convulses over a seemingly innocent question…There are also curiosities about the 9:30 p.m. curfew, Pop Pop’s frequent visits to the woodshed and the insistence that the kids stay out of the basement.
But the biggest mystery comes in determining whether or not THE VISIT is supposed to be a full-blown horror movie or not. When Nana abruptly asks Rebecca, “Would you mind getting inside the oven to clean it?” it’s unclear whether it’s supposed to be some creepy nod to Hansel & Gretel or make the viewer laugh. For the duration, the audience is unsure whether or not writer/director M. Night Shyamalan is going for scares or laughs or a combination and so they’re left fairly perplexed.
It has been some time since Shyamalan has been responsible for any sort of work that held his trademarks. For that, you would have to go back to 2008’s THE HAPPENING, in which Mark Wahlberg fought plants or something. And while THE VISIT is lacking a strong punch in most departments, it is a reminder that Shyamalan still might have a degree of what made him a name left.
THE VISIT is an unbalanced effort, but it seems apparent that Shyamalan knew he had something to prove. And although there are no standout shock moments (think the birthday party scene in SIGNS), there are still some earned spooks and the twist is a worthwhile one. To his credit, this is the best movie Shyamalan has made in more than a dozen years. What that’s saying, though, is up to his fans both current and former.
Video: 1.85:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. THE VISIT is far from looking pristine, but that comes with any found footage movie. Overall, details and colors are stable and accurate.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French Digital Surround 5.1. Subtitles in English, Spanish and French. Dialogue is clear and the sound effects add to the atmosphere.
The Making of THE VISIT (9:56): This featurette looks at writer/director M. Night Shyamalan returning to horror, the style of the movie, the cast and more.
Deleted Scenes (8:34): There are 10 here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Check in with Mom,” “An Evening with Nana and Pop Pop,” “Waiting for the White Thing with Yellow Eyes,” “Searching Mom’s Room,” “Someone Was in Our Room,” “Tyler Educates Nana,” “Pop Pop Hates the World,” “Visiting Mom’s,” “Tyler Internalizes What Happened the Night Before in a Self-Reflecting Manner” and “Becca Consider Reality Television.”
Alternate Ending (2:25)
Becca’s Photos (1:13) offers a collection of images that Becca took during her visit.