Nana (Deanne Dunagan) has to laugh to chase away the darkness in The Visit.

Nana (Deanne Dunagan) has to laugh to chase away the darkness in The Visit.

Reel Reviews: The Visit is only mildly twisted

The Visit is a traditional thriller with a mild Shyamalan twist.

  • Sep. 18, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Siblings Becca (Olivia DeJong) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are 15 and 13 years old before they are presented the opportunity to meet their grandparents.

Their mom (Kathryn Hahn) left home on poor terms 20 years ago and it wasn’t until recently that peace had been re-instated in the family, via the internet.

At first Becca and Tyler find Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) and Nana (Deanne Dunagan) to be charming, atypical grandparents. Nana bakes cookies and Pop Pop tends to the farm chores. But it isn’t long after their 9:30 p.m. bedtime that the kids discover their grandparents exhibit strange behaviours.

Pop Pop is paranoid and spends a lot of time staring. Nana is cryptic during the day and runs around the house naked at night, with a knife.

Told that it’s better for the kids to stay in their room after 9:30 p.m., Becca and Tyler will be lucky to survive the week they are meant to stay.

We say, “It’s a traditional thriller with a mild Shyamalan twist.”

TAYLOR: There are a few things that annoyed me about The Visit: the hand-held first person documentary style (in the hands of children, no less) and the fact that the kids were unbelievably eloquent and poetic. However, as an inexpensive, simple little thriller, it’s not bad. It even has some creepy uncomfortableness. Nothing really scary, unless you consider being startled scary. I do not.

HOWE: Like all M. Night Shyamalan movies, I enjoyed this film. They always seem to have a little twist at the end, something a little different, a little strange. The Visit may not be up there with Signs or The Sixth Sense, but it kept me entertained from start to finish. What I have noticed about his films is once you have seen them and know the ending, you don’t really have to watch them again as you know what is going to happen. If you pay attention, he drops in subtle clues to let you know what is going on. Is it scary? Not really. It’s just a little Shyamalan twisted.

TAYLOR: It had a very independent, inexpensive feel with only four characters and one farmhouse. There is no fancy makeup or special effects. It’s very straightforward. So, in terms of the quality of the movie, it’s going to rate pretty high. Although, even at the end when you get your Shyamalanian twist, there’s something about it that’s rather dull and unimaginative. Yet, I think this is a great little thriller for young people. It’s PG-13 and very clean. I suggest grandparents take grandchildren.

HOWE: I thought this was one of the better documentary style movies. The acting from the kids was maybe a little over the top but they did a good job. Even the audience was laughing with some of the household goings-on. I have just recently seen Oxenbould in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I feel he could go on to be a big star, but then again didn’t we hear that about Haley Joel Osment?

– Taylor gives The Visit 3 photographs out of 5.

– Howe gives it 3.5 cookies out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film critics based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.