Oscar-nominated director M. Night Shyamalan proves that the art of being consistently inconsistent does exist, and that no one does it better than him.
Since 1999, M. Night has had us hooked and, just as easily, un-hooked. Making us all fall victim to the back-and-forth, should-we-shouldn’t-we conversation in our heads when it comes time to decide if we’ll be a part of the next big hit or failure. Yet we still go. Films like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, both starring Bruce Willis, solidified Shyamalan as a storytelling giant. Making us see dead people with an 8-year-old and his visits from ghosts to a man with super-human abilities was not only entertaining but created a sense of connection. Shyamalan’s plot twist thrillers have an underlying layer of sincerity after the screams are over.
Attempts like The Happening and Lady in the Water fell short of entertaining and were based off of weak plots that deterred fans from what they love, M. Night’s ability to be different.
The Visit is an experimental movie in humor for M. Night Shyamalan. Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould play Becca and Tyler, two kids who visit the grandparents, who they’ve never met, for a week. Becca, an aspiring director, brings her camera along to video tape what she hopes will be the journey to forgiveness for her mother, who had a falling out with Becca’s grandparents when she was a teen. Things become bizarre and the children grow worried that something’s very wrong with their grandparents. It takes a while to get that feeling of home from The Visit as it starts off very slow and uneventful. Oxenbould provides impressive and unexpected comic relief that draws moviegoers back to this thriller and the undeniable sense of heart you have for both children who suffer from insecurities and emptiness after their father walked out years before leaving them with a moral compass beyond their years. A plot twist gives the ending redemption and brings you back from the past hour.
Like many experimental projects, M. Night Shyamalan deserves applause for the different approach and creative mix of comic horror. It’s not something audiences are used to seeing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to make this movie worthy of buying a ticket.
The Visit speaks lessons of forgiveness and the importance of not holding onto anger. So that’s exactly what I am going to take from this. I forgive you M. Night, and I hold out hope that next time it will all come together. After all, American’s love a good comeback story.