I have nine grandchildren that for the most part have accepted the fact that I’m not your average granny, but I still surprise and shock them. My nineteen year old grandson, Josh, is still wrapping his mind around the fact that there are sexual scenes in my books. This weekend, my daughter’s family and I headed over to the movie complex to watch the much awaited M. Night Shyamalan’s newest film, The Visit. Was the film scary?
The Visit is listed as a horror comedy written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film stars Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Kathryn Hahn and Peter McRobbie. I am a loyal fan of Shyamalan’s work, although, there are a few of his films where he fell short of my expectations, but that all changed with this film.
Rebecca (Olivia DeJonge) a teenaged girl wise beyond her age, and her rap loving younger brother, Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are sent to visit their mother’s parents for the week while Mom (Kathryn Hahn) goes on a cruise with her new boyfriend. Mom has not seen her parents for fifteen years due to a nasty argument over her eloping with an older man, who has since dumped her for a younger woman. The children are put on a train and sent to their grandparents’ farm in hopes of mending the rift between Paula and her parents.
When the children reach rural Pennsylvania, they are greeted by the lovable John (Peter McRobbie) and Doris (Deanna Dunagan). Rebecca, a budding filmmaker, records and documents the whole vacation trip. There are few restrictions except for two: don’t go into the basement; don’t leave the bedroom after 9:30 p.m. It isn’t long before the children realize that things are not right with their grandparents.
There is a scientific theory that Homo sapiens owe their very survival to grandmothers. It’s called the Grandmother Gene. The longer a grandmother lived after her reproductive years, the more grandchildren she had that survived. It was the helping hand of an older woman that gave babies a better chance of survival. That’s why grandmothers are often pictured as cute, cuddly and smelling of chocolate chip cookies, right? Not in Shyamalan’s world.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I’m a loyal fan of Shyamalan. The Sixth Sense was my favorite only because I’ve also seen ‘Dead People’ from an early age and I identified with what little Cole (Haley Joel Osment) was seeing and experiencing.
Signs was another of my favorite because Shyamalan scared us royally with his aliens and I love aliens. But, I think Shyamalan’s best film was Unbreakable because of his different take on the superhero vs. antihero storyline and because Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson played their parts so believably well. Other than The Happening, which I liked because of its environmental message, I and most movie goers were not happy with his other films.
What M. Night Shyamalan has artistically done with the premise of The Visit was to change our perception of the loving grandparents. I sat between my two grandsons who simultaneously gripped my arms as we all screamed in terror, only to laugh out loud a few seconds later at a funny but disturbing scene. M. Night Shyamalan has found his mojo again and the proof is in this film. Go see The Visit. There are several nudity scenes so use discretion with young viewers. I bet you’ll have a hard time falling asleep at night.
Sometimes, a grandmother can help a species to survive, but sometimes they can scare the hell out of you.