Friday, September 18, 2015

The Visit or M. Night Shyamalan's Polanski Apartment Trilogy-esk Found Footage Film

of 11 viewers "Liked" "The Visit" (USA, 2015)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Math Mage - "This is a horrible film, in the sense that it made me uncomfortable and I'm still traumatized by one scene in particular. So as a horror movie it was successful. The film does a good job setting up the children as irritating, entitled tweens but gradually builds sympathy. Conversely, the portrayal of the elderly is initially positive and rapidly becomes negative. Too negative perhaps; it bothered me to see the health problems of the elderly used as horror elements (in this particular fashion)." - 3 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "Shyamalan is back and once again in form. A thoroughly engaging children's visit gone awry thriller that reminds one perhaps of the kinds of stories the jubilee horror series Goosebumps used to have albeit with much, much better writing. The two children are wonderful performers and have an incredible rapport with each other, so much so that I want to buy the film and watch the extras to see what filming this movie was like. Sure the concept isn't particularly original but that execution is spectacular and I was riveted. The man who made Unbreakable is alive and well, people!" - 4.5 Stars

The Creature of the ComiCombs - "I wasn't really expecting much from this film going in. The beginning of the movie was pretty slow going. I couldn't find anything to really latch onto that made me care for the kids in this film. There were some pretty cool moments here but there were also some questionable moments that took away from the story. It picked up a little too late for me to fully enjoy what was going on. The end was a bit much and I feel that the found footage style took away from the film. It would have been more enjoyable if it wasn't shot that way." - 2.5 Stars

Lord Battle - "I imagine an angry M Night made this film, secluded in the woods determined to shut audiences and critics up. The Visit is a modern suspense masterpiece, combining authentic children, Hitchcockian suspense, a found footage narrative that is both justified and appropriate, and a back to basics story that if executed by anyone else wouldn't have felt so meta, but since it was M. Night the meta aspect only enhanced the experience. Bravo Shyamalan!" - 5 Stars

Huntress - "The Visit took what I consider to be two major movie risks that are so easy to mess up that it feels like a waste to try using them: kids leading the movie and found footage filming. Both of these gambles paid off in ways that I couldn't have anticipated, all because they were taken seriously, chosen with purpose, and given the budget to thrive. The end result was a layered story, packed with humor, scares, and surprising emotional depth. It's unlike any other Shyamalan movie I've seen!" - 3.5 Stars

The Impostor - "After a string of bad films (Lady in the Water, After Earth, The Last Air Bender, etc..) M. Night Shyamalan has left a bad taste in our mouths. When the trailer for The Visit first appeared in theatres, I was really into it until the final title card appeared revealing Shyamalan as the writer/director. Besides all that, the creatures of the Overlook Theatre arrived early to the screening of The Visit and I was thoroughly surprised I really liked this film and am looking forward to watching it again. The script is very natural and self-aware which is a huge part of the reason I liked this film, as well as Shyamalan's trademark twist. The two leads were very believable as brother and sister and pulled off genuine laughs. The scares were just as genuine. Overall I highly recommend this film. It's a horror thrill ride that just may have put Shyamalan back on the map." - 4 Stars

KillDozer - "Love him or hate him M. Night is a story teller who at the least is trying to give us something different and entertaining each time he is in the writer/director chair. One of his main downfalls is that he sets up his audience to immediately "figure it all out" before the final reveal which can lead to some fun but obvious endings. The Visit feels like the rest of his work giving us a glimpse of the darkness right before he gives us a big hug and let's his audience know it's all going to be alright. The cast does a good job with each roll but the stand out performance belongs to the grandmother who truly shows her Broadway skills on the screen jumping at a moments notice between all out madness and true love and compassion. I can honestly say that the film was a hit with the full theatre I watched it in. The found footage take was necessary to tell this story the right way in my opinion but I wish it wasn't used as often or in this case used in a way that gave too much away. Still I wait in anticipation as I do with all great story tellers to see what he comes up with next." - 3 Stars (Not collection worthy but worth the watch)

B4DK - "Yeah it had its moments that were good but for the most part, if you've seen the trailer, you've seen the movie." - 2 Stars

Ice Giant - "M Nights finest work. I worry the movie is going to suffer because of the garbage his name has been associated with the past few years but lovers of the found footage genre and horror in general really should give this movie a chance." - 4.5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

How does one begin discussing a film like The Visit? A film whose trailer ensnared an audience only to lose it seconds later at the site of the writer/directors name, M. Night Shyamalan. The fact that his name was so prominently displayed at the end of the trailer felt like a challenge. Now remember that Shyamalan's last film After Earth came and went without anyone knowing he directed it. Following a streak of films like: The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, and finally After Earth, This meant M. Night thought he had something.
So what's the twist? You're wondering. The twist is The Visit is the back-to-basics film M. Night so desperately needed. Now if you read his interview with Bloody Disgusting it becomes very obvious that his idea of what an indie film costs hasn't been updated since the 90's, as The Visit was budgeted at 5,000,000 (This however is a big difference from his last film that cost $100,000,000). This new restricted budget did have a large effect on what type of film we got, as a Polanski apartment trilogy-esque found footage film seems much more grounded that the epics he's used to making. In fact, the entire film has a meta overtone to it as red-herrings are thrown our way a couple of times and would totally have seemed outlandish in any other filmmakers movie but since we've all been disappointed by at least 1 of the M. Night twists, you can't help but think; is it really a monster? The brilliant thing is that Shyamalan realizes this and totally uses it to his advantage. Seriously, who thought this film would just be about crazy old people?! It's actually incredibly unfair to sum up The Visit as a film about scary old people. Especially because it's not really the old people that are scary, it's the assurance that we'll all become old that's terrifying.
Now I just had to mention how much I loved the fact that Becca (Olivia DeJonge) was a film nerd. This is awesome, not just because I could connect with her through a common passion, but also because it allowed M. Night the freedom to make a found footage film look good (I also need to point out that not once does he do a static edit, which I truly hate in Found Footage). The best was towards the end after having heard her mention Mise-en-scene throughout the film, we finally get to see how effective it's actually been. When Becca is locked upstairs in the dark, it initially feels like the room she's been staying in. There's just one problem, the door knob is wrong for that room (it's on the wrong side (left as opposed to right) of the door). It's incredible when something like a door knob being in the wrong spot can send your mind reeling but it makes sense. Due to the awesome use of Mise-en-scene, which refers to how things are arranged on screen, the audience was very familiar with the house, so the addition of a new room instantly got us thinking about where we haven't been. And of course that would be the grandparents room.

- Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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