by Noel T. Manning II
Night Shyamalan brings to the world “Hansel & Gretel meets Blair Witch” in a stripped down fairy tale complete with deep dark woods, creaking wood floors, and freaky characters in the new film “The Visit”.
Shyamalan loves using children as his protagonists, and does so again in this film with the over-used (but quite inexpensive) found footage-type technique. Here, the children (as in many fairytales) must overcome evil and menacing conflicts (sometimes from the most unlikely of sources) when they discover just how awful a visit to grandmother’s house can be.
“The Visit” offered canned scares, Shamalanian twists, and some laughs, but overall I found the story predictable (creative, yes, but predictable, none-the-less). The found-footage concept is becoming old and tired for me for the most part, but here, at times, it was fun. The film was a bit disjointed , yet it was oddly entertaining. You may see here that I’m a bit conflicted with this film that lacked true balance. I didn’t love it, and I didn’t hate it.
I was an early fan of M. Night with such projects as “Wide Awake” (1998) and the Oscar-nominated “The Sixth Sense” (1999). I also appreciated films like “Unbreakable” (2000), “Signs” (2002), “The Village” (2004), and even the almost universally panned “Lady in the Water” (2006). But in 2008 with the release of horrid film “The Happening” and the 2010 follow up mess “The Last Airbender” I was really getting worried about the future of this talented writer/director.
“The Visit” is by no means a return to the “A-Game,” for M. Night, and thankfully it’s not a cellar-dweller waste of time either, it somehow fits squarely in the middle and earns a Cinemascene grade of C+ from me.