Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Visit

"The Visit" (2015, M. Night Shyamalan, Blinding Edge Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Universal Picture) is a thrilling found footage film. And believe me, you don't hear me say that often. I usually detest found footage, but this one really hit the right notes for me!

Budding documentary maker, Rebecca (Olivia DeJonge), and her little, rap-loving brother, Tyler (Ed Oxenbould), are going to stay with their estranged grandparents for a week. Their mother, Paula (Kathryn Hahn) has not seen her parents since she left home to run away with her much older lover, against her parents' will. Her parents have found Paula and her family via the internet and are trying to at least patch ties with their grandchildren.

Rebecca and Tyler set off together as Paula heads on a cruise with her new boyfriend, Miguel. Their grandparents, John (Peter McRobbie) and Doris (Deanna Dunegan) meet them both at the train station and appear to be perfectly normal grandparents.

Everything seems fine except for two rules: do not leave your bedroom after 'bedtime' (9.30pm) and do not go into the basement. Ignoring the first rule, Rebecca leaves her room on the first night after curfew and finds her grandmother behaving very strangely. Over the next few days, the behaviour of both grandparents becomes more suspicious until finally the kids realise that they have to leave... Something is very, very wrong!

A great jump fest with some tropes, but so well executed that they were actually effective. I believe mostly the reason I enjoyed this film, despite its found footage styling, was down to the stellar performances from the cast. Both DeJonge and Oxenbould portrayed a realistic sibling relationship with humorous quirks and banter. Both are normal, somewhat annoying, kids who think they are smarter than they are but are adorable in their own way. I also really appreciated the chilling performances of both McRobbie and Dunegan, however, Deanna Dunegan remains the overall winner of the shit-your-pants-scary award. The switch from doddery old sweetheart to terrifying nightmare creature was truly awe-inspiring.

The film flows really well, with a great setting, enough happening to keep you interested and some excellently unsettling scenes. Definitely one to watch with the lights off.

[Image: Blinding Edge Pictures]