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 filmmaking and childhood angst 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.
Shyamalan's cornball sentimentality is on full display here, and it's really rather winning. There's a fun looseness to much of the film... but also a slavish commitment to schemas and structure like much of Shyamalan's filmography. The found footage is convincing, but also disappointing, hiding Shyamalan's real skill as a visual storyteller beneath (purposefully) sloppy framing.
Just terrible. Shyamalan comes to the found footage genre well past it's expiry date and fails miserably in this horror film without a shred of horror. I was going to start this comment with a question: 'Who keeps giving this guy money to make films?' but then I found it was mostly self financed. Every plot point is without surprise and the performances are quite dismal. One of the 2015's worse.
["Let it swing organically"<3]I: Deanna Dunagan as a Lilian Gish-clone on MDMA/ II: Sundowning as an excuse for murder/III: THE best screenplay brought to film in 2015/IV: uber Oldhood ('Lights out at 9.30, we old'+adult diapers)vs Younghood ('Oh snap, this' some candy for the ladies':Tyler 'wrecking' the serious weekend vacation Doc to include a YT-like "vine"/ The best Zoom In of the Decade...[contd. in comments]
The one-time "new Spielberg" turns in a film more perverse & transgressive than his hero would ever dare. It might not reinvent the tropes of its sub-genre, like Unbreakable, nor achieve a level of poetic yearning, as with The Village, but it does succeed in creating a balance between dark-comedy & actual suspense; engaging the audience in the plight of its characters, while unsettling them through genuine weirdness.
Just when you think M. Night is down and out, he comes back with a vengeance, revitalizing his career and the found footage genre. Even though I laughed at this film more than most comedies this year, that doesn't make it a bad film. In fact, it adds to its genius; the flawless mix of ridiculous, goofy comedy and thriller elements. Nothing but love for this one on my end.
"The Visit's" status as a crowdpleaser should not be diminished by the unshakable feeling that the film is merely an experiment, an opportunity for M. Night to try his hand at the popular 'found footage' genre and reconnect with an audience that had begun to laugh when he wanted them to scream. On that note, it's a success, even if it lacks the thematic heft of the director's best and most memorable films.
M. Night Shyamalan is still telling meta-narratives and challenging his comfort zone as a writer and director. This time in a "found footage" horror, with his two leads personifying his two competing filmmaking manifestos—genre spectacle, and earnest, goofball poeticism. That he should ruminate on the polarity that has alienated him from audiences for the past decade in a crowdpleaser, makes it the perfect twist.