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Olivia DeJonge – Rebecca
Ed Oxenbould – Tyler
Deanna Dunagan – Grandma
Peter McRobbie – Grandpa
Kathryn Hahn – Mother
..no, unfortunately I’m not talking about the results of her mixing bowl.
Viewers actually get an eyeful of the old dear’s private parts during one particular scene.
When it’s bedtime for Rebecca and Tyler, a strange scratching can be heard outside their room. They open the door to find ‘grandma’ clawing at the walls. Naked. Although resembling a saggy sack of rice pudding, the actress was very brave to bare all I reckon; the nakedness adding to the overall sinister atmosphere.
Deanna Dunagan was actually the best thing about this movie – in every sense. She was the best actor, the better character, a total force of energy. Scenes (practically all of them) involving grandma had me entertained nicely; I found myself wide-eyed and totally focused on the screen whenever she was up to something. Whereas grandpa could usually be found acting completely normal – by just standing there – grandma was a proper loose cannon, and the movie’s driving force. Her most popular scene (as seen in the trailer) where she stands coaxing Rebecca into the oven had to be one of the most entertaining. It was just plain sinister and again, had me hooked on Dunagan’s performance.
The boring beginning is quickly saved by the actress when Rebecca and Tyler play a game of hide and seek underneath the house. Grandma decides to join in, with shocking results that had the audience laughing out loud in confusion (and at her closing-scene line, “I’m making Chicken Pot Pie” – as she walked away with her dress tucked into her knickers, showing her wrinkly butt). Even I found myself laughing as I felt slightly bemused by her actions.
I must say, Dunagan saves The Visit from flopping completely – like Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect 2; a poorly executed awful movie was made bearable by that one single person who shines through everything and entertains nicely. And I say this because unfortunately, The Visit was one of the WORST horror movies I’ve ever seen.
The opening scene and entire beginning of The Visit was painful. As in boring, uninteresting. Quite literally all that happens is two kids talking about their home life and how they are about to take a trip to stat with their grandparents, whilst one of them holds the camera steadily. Oh, and a brief ‘interview’ with their mother who adds to the gripping entertainment (yes I’m being sarcastic) by offloading as much about her childhood relationship with her parents as possible.
At one point I wondered what the hell I was watching and had to jar myself out of the feeling of glazed-eyed boredom, as I willed the movie to become an actual horror / thriller like it was supposed to be. Sitting watching this twenty-something minute opening was almost excruciating. And I debated leaving the cinema..
What really got on my nerves was how the kids reacted to various situations. Very rarely did they take action and ended up standing around instead of exiting the house whenever the grandparents started doing sinister things. Rebecca seemed to excel at just standing there, filming. One scene sees Tyler involved in a nasty run-in with grandpa and is practically being tortured. But instead of coming to his aid, Rebecca decides to pop upstairs and film grandma who appears to be having a fit. The whole scenario was pathetic, one of the most unrealistic things I’ve ever seen.
Tyler was another story. In a word – rapping. The kid had to have been the most irritating movie character I have seen in years, due to breaking into random rap whenever possible. When the pair are on board a train to their grandparents, Tyler starts rapping and gets the ticket conductor involved. The irrelevance was highly irritating and only continued. When they both arrive at the house and start settling in with the help of grandma’s refreshments, Tyler decides it’s a good time to explain to her what rapping is. And again, breaks into a rendition of something random which ends with the phrase, “I’m like a pineapple upside down cake” for the old woman’s benefit.
I literally sat wincing at the screen – it was embarrassing to watch. The stupidity of it, the unnecessary idea of it, how he did it.. unbearable. And I’m not the only one. I recently watched The Film Review on BBC News 24 where critic Mark Kermode slated The Visit and commented how he wanted the boy to stop rapping whenever he started. To which I (obvously) related strongly.
When I saw The Visit was being brought to us by M. Night Shyamalan I had a good feeling about it. The man has produced some good (ok – some okay) flicks in the past. The Village, Signs, The Happening. All of which carry a sinister storyline.
The Visit was his worst. And guess what?!..
..bloody Blum was involved. Yes – Jason Blum who I have mentioned in a few reviews lately played his part in cooking up this bizarre movie. Which is probably 70% of the reason why it went wrong. Blum seems to be pulling one after the other after the other out of the bag lately, and he either nails it or misses the mark and flops spectacularly. The Visit was no exception. This movie is dull, very dull and fills its screen time with tediously lengthy scenes whereby absolutely nothing happens and dialogue shared between characters doesn’t hold much meaning. And to add salt to the wound, one scene sees Tyler film Rebecca as she sits on a chair in the middle of some sort of country road and grill her about her insecurities, to which she starts blubbing in response.
Any other movie I may have cared. But not here. I genuinely couldn’t give a shit. I really couldn’t. Lack of action and scary moments ensured The Visit was one of M. Night Shayamalan’s worst ever creations. Teaming up with Jason Blum ensured the removal of any tension, the drifting of film direction and lack of engaging characters. It was certainly “goodnight” from M. Night with this one.
The Visit is a horrible movie, in every possible way. Length, lack of action, dull cast, the boring way it is laid out. The concept is all there but it fails miserably to deliver the goods. Alongside this is the baffling result of smothering a feasible plot with far-fetched activity and stupid actions. For example, the scene where the kids Skype their mother who realises what’s happening and calls the police – then the Skype connection (amazingly) cuts off. The kids just sit there staring at each other instead of performing a simple click and calling her back like any other normal person.
Also the fact Rebecca decides to keep the footage instead of destroying it got on my nerves. This traumatised young girl (who leads the movie to its ending with a lot of screaming and crying) doesn’t destroy the video of their horrific experience, but instead edits it and sticks a clip of her brother rapping on the end. Just to round it off.
I’m drawing this review to a close, just thinking about The Visit irritates me. What a total disappointment.
If it’s a good old fashioned horror movie you’re after, avoid this one like the plague and choose something else.