The Visit Screen 16 articles

The Visit


The Visit Poster
  • Essentially it treats old people as if they’re already dead: smelly nightmares looming up at you in their soiled nightclothes. The black-comic hysteria of the tone doesn’t let this kind of point-and-gawp callousness off the hook, when what we’re beholding is a prime candidate for the most gerontophobic film ever made... What’s agreeably minor hokum for half an hour becomes a groan-inducing calamity, with a last reel that’s as rotten as anything Night has blackened his name with.

  • If this is considered [Shyamalan's] return to form, I can scarcely imagine how dire the last four must have been...The film alternates between blasé creepiness and cheap jump scares, achieving a brief frisson of terror only when Nana joins the game of hide and seek under the house. And the twist ending is telegraphed ridiculously early, landing with a thud. Closing bid for sincere pathos is borderline insulting... Putting this dude back in the discard pile.

  • When the (non-spoiler alert) trademark Shyamalan twist finally arrives, it doesn't synthesize anything other than the director's devotion to his signature gimmick. Say what you will about The Village or The Happening, at least the left turns in those films widened the scope of Shyamalan's thematic concerns. The secret of The Visit reduces everything to a campfire story.

  • It was fun watching this with a gasping and screaming audience. For horror-goers, the comparative competence must hit the spot. But there’s nothing new here — and what I sensed for 94 minutes was compromise, a director who concedes that spending time at Blum’s house might be the first step in getting back to his own.

  • For all its intelligence and craft, M. Night Shyamalan’s foray into the genre of found-footage horror has the feeling of homework done well... It delivers a few jolts and a few tense laughs, but Shyamalan stays on the surface and at a distance; his script is airtight and, despite deft camera work by Maryse Alberti, he displays no documentary curiosity of his own.

  • This isn’t the magnificent comeback we’ve been led to believe, even if it marks an impressive step forward. Shyamalan clearly still has control over his craft, and while the good here never outweighs the bad, it is there and it is strong. From a long-time Shyamalan fan5 it’s great to see him back, and while it clearly isn’t his best, it is far, far from his worst. M. Night has a few good films left in him yet and judging from this film’s reception, it’s likely that he’ll finally get to make them.

  • Self-reflexive and dosed with macabre humor, this offbeat exercise in just-around-the-corner horror grounds the largely exhausted found-footage approach in classical storytelling and visual values, resulting in a refreshing (and memorably strange) genre piece, premised almost entirely on a child’s willingness to accept grown-up weirdness as long as it ensures stability.

  • Shyamalan’s compositions and timing make all the difference in a movie that essentially offers nothing more than simple horror pleasures: jump scares, creepy-strange people, a dark basement…good old-fashioned don’t-go-in-there stuff. Ultimately The Visit isn’t much more than novel, but its basic, unostentatious craft and knowing sense of humor prove that Shyamalan still has a knack for telling solid stories that try to negate the cynicism his jaded audiences might have about genre films.

  • In “The Visit,” an amusingly grim fairy tale, floorboards creak, doors squeak and lights lower and sometimes shriek to black. The story, a “Hansel and Gretel” redo for Generation Selfie, has the virtue of simplicity and familiarity... The director M. Night Shyamalan has a fine eye and a nice, natural way with actors, and he has a talent for gently rap-rap-rapping on your nerves.

  • The film belongs to a prolific genre—the found-footage horror movie—and while it doesn’t reinvent the form, it contains a number of effective scares and almost as many laughs. Shyamalan takes obvious care in establishing atmosphere, luring viewers into the movie’s central mystery and interrupting the seduction with jokes and false alarms.

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    Sight & Sound: Adam Nayman
    October 02, 2015 | November 2015 Issue (pp. 94-95)

    Some might find the resulting mixture of expedience and earnestness uneasy. With this in mind, Shyamalan's need to hardwire an emotional component into what is basically an exercise in genre mechanics smacks of the very cynicism his cinema supposedly rejects. But there's something to be said for engineering, as well. On the limited terms it sets for itself, The Visit works just fine.

  • What’s perhaps most frightening about The Visitmight be that, even though this faux-documentary frame is handled with a winking nonchalance, it exhibits a more complete understanding of the essential questions and decisions behind nonfiction filmmaking than many working film critics are able to offer... Though much of The Visit is skillfully executed and very often jolt-inducing, it’s still quite a dumb thing. Shyamalan’s comedy has always leaned to the broad Catskills variety.

  • The whole film is very idiosyncratic, from the echoes of 'American Gothic' (the painting, not the show) and 'Hansel and Gretel', to the kids using big words like "rakish-looking" and "proclivities" (except when they don't), to their germophobia and low self-esteem which just get thrown into the mix without much coherence, to the last 15 minutes which kind of wallow without actually adding any urgency. Not exactly good, but exactly the kind of film that develops a cult eventually.

  • M. Night is a curious case—you can't accuse him of not having good ideas, only of not filtering out the bad ones. This rebound is worth a skeptic's time, initially not a horror film but a look at childhood angst and a play on filmmaking before it becomes solid B-horror with a high-low fusion to make Val Lewton proud. Then he ends it on a final credits sequence so incredibly wrong I'm amazed no one pulled the plug.

  • "The Visit" represents Shyamalan cutting loose, lightening up, reveling in the improvisational behavior of the kids... Horror is very close to comedy. Screams of terror often dissolve into hysterical laughter, and he uses that emotional dovetail, its tension and catharsis, in almost every scene. The film is *ridiculous* on so many levels, the story playing out like the most monstrous version of Hansel & Gretel imaginable, and in that context, "ridiculous" is the highest possible praise.

  • It's one of [Shyamalan's] sharpest and most visually elegant movies... The Visit arguably looks too good to pass for the genuine article [a found footage movie], but it's actually a relief to be freed of the expectation to hold it to a deliberately low standard. Put another way, intentionally poor quality is such a drag on so much of the found-footage genre that Shyamalan's decision to ignore this dubious make-ugly convention frees him to make a real movie, and frees us to enjoy it.

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