Movie Review: The Visit

Regular readers of this blog will know that I usually don't enjoy horror movies. The last one I remember seeing was The Woman in Black, about three years ago, and only because Daniel Radcliffe was in it. However, I am a big fan of M. Night Shyamalan's films, and since he is the writer and director of The Visit, I put on my "big-girl pants" and went to check it out.

Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) and Rebecca Jamison (Olivia DeJonge) are being sent to go visit their grandparents, in the house where their mother (Kathryn Hahn) grew up. Their mom and her parents had a falling out when she was 19, when she decided to run off with an older man, but the grandparents have never seen their grandchildren and would like them to visit. Rebecca also is a budding filmmaker, and decided to film a documentary about the visit and about her mother's life, as well as the falling out that led her and her parents to be estranged. When they originally arrive at the home in rural Pennsylvania, their Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop-Pop (Peter McRobbie) seem very nice and sweet; Nana likes to cook, and Rebecca can't get enough of her homemade cookies. Soon, however, Tyler and Rebecca start to notice strange things going on in the house, especially at night, and they decide to investigate.

This movie had me on the edge of my seat during some parts and I definitely "jumped" a few times; it probably didn't help that I went to the screening by myself (it was a last-minute screening, at a theater five minutes from my house), and I was sitting near two girls who screamed at all the scary parts. The good news, though, was that this was more of a "suspense" film than horror - there were no paranormal elements, although for a while I was thinking that maybe the grandparents had been possessed or something, and it's a plot that could actually happen in real life. M. Night Shyamalan, masters of twists, is back in rare form with this movie, after a few recent duds (After Earth, The Last Airbender, Lady in the Water), and I definitely did not figure out the twist in this movie before it happened.

Yes, see this movie. Be warned that although it's rated PG-13, I found it pretty scary ... and I'm 28. This film also had some comedy throughout - the brother (Oxenbould, from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) likes to rap, and considers himself a "ladies man," even though he's only 13, which provided some laughs. I liked that the film was a mix of horror and comedy (homedy? corror?), although the middle third of the movie was mostly horror. If you like films where you are constantly trying to figure out characters' motives, you should check out this movie; but bring a friend and be prepared to be freaked out just a little bit.

The Visit is in theaters today, September 11th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 94 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.

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