Two children's visit to their grandparents turns into a nightmare inM. Night Shyamalan's latest movie, the horror film The Visit.
Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould play Rebecca and Tyler, who met their maternal grandfather and grandmother for the first time, years after they became estranged from their mother, played by Parks and Recreation and Step Brothers actress Kathryn Hahn. There, they discover a horrifying revelation and things get rather nasty. The movie also stars Deanna Dunagan and Boardwalk Empire and Daredevil actor Peter McRobbie.
Find out what five critics thought about the movie. The Visit is set for release on Friday, Sept. 11.
1. Forbes' Scott Mendelson said the movie marks a "glorious return to form" for Shyamalan.
"The Visit is the one we've been waiting for, folks," he writes. "It's good. Oh my word, is it good. But more importantly, it is excellent in that specific way that reminds us why M. Night Shyamalan was once such a marvel."
"It is richly humanistic, filled with individually sketched characters that often sparkle with wit and surprising decency," he adds. "Within the first few minutes of this evocatively sketched gem, all those bad memories of pretty much everything Shyamalan has made since Signs vanishes in a puff of smoke. The Visit is always engrossing, occasionally enthralling, periodically hilarious, and, when it counts, bruised-forearm terrifying. This is delightful entertainment."
2. CraveOnline's William Bibbiani says The Visit is "worth an RSVP."
"The Visit is not up to the standards of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable or even (most of) Signs, but it is a welcome step in the right direction for Shyamalan," he writes. "He once again seems energized by humanity and not just a high-concept. He's made a small film and he's made it work, on its own modest merits."
3. Time Out's Tom Huddleston gives The Visit two out of five stars but is less than impressed with the two children's performances.
"Shyamalan proves he hasn't lost his knack for a short, sharp shock—there's a hide-and-seek scene that'll leave you whimpering—and his inevitable twist is a doozy," he writes. "But there are two major problems here, and they're both blond, blue-eyed and unbearable: if Becca's habit of spouting great chunks of moviemaking lore isn't irksome enough, Tyler's penchant for breaking into squeaky improvised rhyme might actually induce panic attacks."
"The result is a bizarre, conflicted mess, horrifying when it's trying to be funny, oddly appealing when it turns the screws," he says. "Still, if you've ever wanted to hear a lisping 12-year-old rap about how traumatic it is to have s--t rubbed in your face by an elderly relative, step right up."
4. The Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl calls The Visit a "strange, funny, nasty little thriller."
"For the first time in years, Shyamalan proves a shrewd and commanding filmmaker, goosing the audience to feel just what he wants us to," he writes, adding, "Rather than try to live up to the expectations of those existential beauties The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, Shyamalan is playing: with form, with genre, with perspective, with us. The twist, this time, is that he's having a ball—and you probably will, too."
5. Variety's Geoff Berkshire did not appear that impressed by The Visit.
"Heavier on comic relief (most of it intentional) than genuine scares, this low-budget oddity could score decent opening weekend B.O. and ultimately find a cult following thanks to its freakier twists and turns," he writes. "But hardly represents a return to form for its one-time Oscar-nominated auteur."