This is M. Night Shyamalan’s first movie of his own in the last 10 years. Some reviewers had disparaging things to say about it, that it is not quite up to his usual calibre. This movie has no supernatural entities fueling the craziness of the characters, which prompted one reviewer to say that everything the old couple did was explainable by normal aging processes. My husband and I were one of the first to see this. In fact, we were the only ones in the Matinee showing that day!
Becca and Tyler visit their maternal grandparents for the first time. Their mother left at a very young age under less-than-pleasant circumstances, but she refuses to divulge the cause of the rift. Becca attempts to get forgiveness for her mother, to heal that chasm between them. Shyamalan applies his typical twist to what seems a predictable course of events. The old couple have strange rules, strange behaviours that the kids and their mother attribute to “normal” aging process. But the viewer finds out differently. The old man and woman are residents of the mental institution who have taken the place of the real grandparents. The bizarre behaviours the kids see at night are the result of mental issues and sundowning.
The moral of the story comes out at the very end — never hold onto your anger. Because the mother never let go of her anger with her own parents, the kids came into danger. The daughter Becca seems to have heard this advice and attempts to heal her own anger with her father who abandoned them.
Bottom Line: I enjoy Shyamalan movies. I enjoy his originality and his plot twists. I thought this movie was good. As far as the scary bits, I can usually predict when the thing is about to happen, yet I admit I did jump out of my seat once when I didn’t see it coming. I can’t recommend it for children mostly because it is a horror film, and the fake grandparents are killed in the end. The grandmother had some nudity viewed from the back, but I wasn’t as concerned about that as it was in context of her bizarre behaviours. But it was the killing scenes and the horror parts that I personally feel children don’t need to see.
“The Visit” (rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including terror, violence and some nudity, and for brief language).