Director M. Night Shyamalan Mistakes a Horror film for a Comedy
By Juan Palomo
The first thought that pops into our heads when we think of our grandparents is probably the fact that they are the sweetest (or worst) people in this planet. The cliché memories of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, romantic storytelling and week long visits may flood one’s mind when brought up. Perhaps your nana and papa weren’t as great as others and drowned your precious childhood with the smell of cigarette smoke, disgusting perfumes and stories of racial ignorance. Either way, they are your family and are constantly told to respect and love them, I mean, it’s the social norm. You HAVE to love them unconditionally. Or is there a limit for their level of sweetness/ ignorance that they cannot exceed?
Thanks to director and screenwriter M. Night Shyamalan, The Visit is able to cause such an exceeding level to exist, but not in the terrifying and on edge way he aimed it to be.
The Visit is a “horror-thriller” film directed and written by Shyamalan and is set to be distributed by Universal Pictures on Friday, September 11th. The “thriller” follows the bright Rebecca (Olivia DeJonge) and aspiring rapper Tyler Jamison (Ed Oxenbould) as they document their experience visiting their grandparents for the first time.
The “documentary” opens with an interview between the kids and their mother, Paula Jamison (Kathryn Hahn), explaining the idea behind sending the two away for a week with Paula’s parents. It is revealed that Paula has not seen or spoken to her parents for about fifteen years due to her running away with her high school teacher who she was in love with at the time. After a few years of living and building a family with Paula, “Dad” decides to go out for a pack of smokes and never come back, well, basically leave the kids with their mother in order to pursue something “better.”
Now dating a new man, Paula plans to go on a cruise with her new bae while the kids are away in hopes to relieve some stress and strengthen her relationship. So the kiddos hop a train and meet up with Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop-Pop (Peter McRobbie) who actually turn out to be the sweetest and most perfect grandparents in the world, that is until their first official night there.
As the nights pass, the kids discover more and more strange things about their grandparents ranging from projectile vomiting and hiding poop in the shed to scratching the walls wearing a very worn out birthday suit and standing outside their room with a knife in hand. After they complain about these crazy events to their mother, the kids decide to leave earlier than they expected to stay, only they can’t leave without attending a fun family game night, and boy was it fun.
Why It Stinked
Although the plot and Shyamalan’s famous trademarked twist entertains and shock viewers, the film failed to meet the criteria for a thriller but meet the criteria of some type of shady comedy. There is a huge difference between building excitement/ tension and making the audience laugh throughout the film Shy-man and if it was his intention to make this film as the cloudy comedy it is then he shouldn’t mislead viewers by creating a trailer that approaches the film in a creepy and twisted way.
While this film seems to undergo some type of awkward teen-like identity crisis that may not affect the average Joe, The Visit is expected to rule the audience with its hilariously small jokes that unravel throughout the 94 minute film and unexpected trademarked twist.