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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Movie Review - The Visit

The Visit (2015)
Starring Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, and Kathryn Hahn
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

With their father having left their mother (Kathryn Hahn) a few years ago, Becca and her younger brother Tyler (Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould) push their mom into going on a cruise with her new boyfriend.  Their mother obliges and sends Becca and Tyler to see their grandparents (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) whom their mom hasn't spoken to in nearly twenty years following a fight after which she ran away.  Recognizing the need for possible reconciliation and at the wishes of their grandparents who recently attempted to communicate with their daughter again, Becca and Tyler  head off only to discover that Nana and Pop Pop exhibit some disturbing behavior that may be hiding some dark secrets.

Told in a documentary style of filmmaking -- Becca is a budding filmmaker who wants a recording of her familial history -- M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit builds its tension at a gradual level, but is a bit too full of holes and contrivances (to suit the first-person style of direction) to fully succeed.  That doesn't mean The Visit isn't moderately successful...because it is.  A huge part of the success is the solid acting of Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould who admittedly aren't given much depth with which to act, but at least carry the film with aplomb.

While it's true Shyamalan fell off the wagon, I never was willing to give up on the director because I always felt -- even in his truly worst films -- there were slight glimmers of promise.  I'm hoping The Visit is a step back in the right direction for him (even if it isn't perfect) and we can see more from this suspense-driven auteur in the near future.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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