The Visit: Laugh, Scream, Enjoy


Whether you are ready to jump out of your seat in fear or laugh hysterically, the recently released “The Visit” offers it all.

The film begins with single mother Loretta (Kathryn Hahn) telling her two teenage children that her long-estranged parents have suddenly contacted her. She can’t handle it so she irresponsibly allows her kids, Rebecca, 15, and Tyler, 13, to go meet the grandparents without their mom.

Aspiring documentarian Rebecca (Olivia DeJong) is determined to make a film about their visit that will help her mother and her grandparents make peace with one another. While the children travel by train to meet their grandparents, their energy of excitement is infectious. The kids bond with the bus conductor, as Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) raps with him. Tyler is very outgoing and goofy in an enjoyable way, rather than annoying like Rebecca, who is too mature and serious. However, she does seem to enjoy herself on the trip because she enjoys watching her brother rap.

The children first meet the grandparents at the train station. The awkwardness between the kids and the grandparents is noticeable, yet makes sense because they do not really know each other. The grandparents, Doris (Deanna Dunagan) and John (Peter McRobbie) do try to make the children feel at home. Once they get to their grandparents’ home, which is on a farm, John makes it clear that the kids cannot go inside the basement because of mold that can get them sick. The kids accept what John says, but there is something very mysterious about this “mold” in the basement.

Events soon get out of hand as their grandparents do strange things, such as the grandfather always getting ready for a costume party that does not exist. The grandmother asks Rebecca to clean the oven and oddly has her go inside the entire oven to clean it. Then she closes the oven door. This scene alludes to Hansel and Gretel, where the grandmother plays the part of the evil witch and Rebecca is the helpless Gretel. Also, John makes the rule for the kids not to leave their room after 9:30 P.M. when Rebecca constantly tells him something is wrong with grandma.

Director M. Night Shyamalan is best known for the his plot twists, especially in “The Sixth Sense.” Shyamalan does well in this film, despite having a largely unknown cast. The film earned $25.4 million in its opening weekend.

What makes “The Visit” a great movie is that it has a surprising balance of comedy and thrills that really works. This balance allows the audience to engage in the film, since they would relax and put their guard down during comedic moments. Then suddenly the audience would scream in fear or gasp in astonishment.

The film also focuses on the importance of facing fears since Rebecca and Tyler both have been mentally affected by their father’s abandonment. Rebecca dislikes looking at herself in the mirror. Tyler is a germophobe and has a fear of tackling, which is known when he tells about an incident during one of his football game. The film succeeds at showing the significance of bravery, in order for the children to defend themselves from their psychotic grandparents.

“The Visit” was refreshingly shot as if the children were making a documentary out of their visit. It shows what things look like through the children’s perspective, rather than what the director just wants to show.

The movie overall was quite good, though the plot had some loopholes. Furthermore, the ending was not satisfying and lacked substance because the film could have gone farther in creating a twist.

If you are looking for a movie that is fun to watch, provides thrills, and not overthink the plot, then I promise you this is the movie for you.