M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN’S THE VISIT — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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The Visit is a hoot. Combining odd humor and effective doses of familiar horror tropes, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan dropped this film in theaters just about a year ago, and it did strong business and was met with favorable reviews. And I can see why. It’s a fun movie. Nasty, clever, silly, and funny in equal doses, the narrative pivots on the sadistic notion that your otherwise pleasant grandparents might be up to some really bad stuff in their seemingly comfortable country home. Working with the brilliant cinematographer Maryse Alberti (Creed, The Wrestler, Velvet Goldmine), Shyamalan actually created a legitimate reason for the found-footage presentation that he offers up, and as a result, the jittery camerawork coupled with fast edits can’t help but unnerve the viewer in more than one instance, even if a few lapses of logic prevent the film from feeling truly air-tight. The performances are all extremely well done by the two annoying-on-purpose kids (Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould) and the sinister elderly couple (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie), with everyone getting their own individual moment(s) to shine while creating a hostile and potentially dangerous vibe as a group. Kathryn Hahn bookends the piece and is her usual awesome self. But it’s the level of humor in The Visit that really took me by surprise, as I’m always a big fan of movies that mix tones and aren’t afraid to be a little different. I hope the solid success of this film is merely a warm up to Shyamalan’s upcoming chiller, Split, because just from the trailer, that one seems loaded with promise.

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