Five nights at Granny’s: The Visit delivers

Gavin Gaddis

The Visit Poster

“The Visit” tells the story of two children who visit their estranged grandparents for a week. Becca (Olivia DeJonge) is an aspiring documentarian who enlists her brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) to help record their week long trip for her first feature-length documentary.

 

The entire film is presented through the viewpoint of their two cameras.

 

Now for the hard part: M. Night Shyamalan has directed a well-made found footage scary movie.

 

Two years ago I’d think that sentence was a joke. It bears explaining the level of disrespect I’ve leveled at Shyamalan in recent years.

 

The mind behind “Unbreakable,” “Signs” and “The Sixth Sense” seemingly could do no wrong until he started to fall into a problem that all famous directors face, people stopped telling him no.

 

Without funding or creative restrictions his works became caricatures of his earlier films. The idea of a surprise twist became synonymous with Shyamalan due to sloppy writing and iffy directing.

 

Please keep this in mind while I say the following: Shyamalan’s “The Visit” is such a finely crafted film I think he’s properly redeemed himself.

 

This breath of fresh air is wonderful after the embarrassingly bad “After Earth,” a movie so destined to failadmittedly due in no small part to influence from Will Smith’s demand for re-writesthe producers were afraid to put Shyamalan’s name in the trailers because they felt his name might hurt sales.

 

Scary movies are all but dead to me after Eli Roth and the Saw franchise changed horror from something psychological and powerful into torture porn obsessed with getting screams of discomfort from gore instead of good writing.

 

“The Visit” doesn’t present anything new to the world of cinema, but it is so a finely crafted movie I cannot recommend anything short of seeing it in a theater. With a crowd of terrified people you’ll have a blast, watching it in an empty room with your hand down your pants and your laptop on reddit won’t do it justice.

 

If you’re tired of movies being carried by bad child actors, “The Visit” will renew your faith in younger thespians. I sincerely compare the talents of DeJonge and Oxenbould to that of a young Haley Joel Osmont when he first hit the scene in “The Sixth Sense,” they definitely have the chops.

 

Finally, if you have seen several of Shyamalan’s movies before you will notice him having a conversation with you, the educated viewer, as the film goes on. Certain lines of dialog subtly reference his good movies, he’ll use a trope or set piece that you’ve come to expect from him then absolutely turn it on its head.

 

There are many moments in “The Visit” where it nearly heads in a horrible direction, only to turn on a dime and become amazing, almost as an intentional middle finger from Shyamalan saying, “Yeah, you thought I’d screw this one up, didn’t you? How dare you doubt me.”

See this movie. See it now. See it in theaters. Don’t let torture porn be the only films that make money this Halloween season.