Film Review: The Visit

by Evan Brown

Rated M. Starring Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

“Would you mind getting inside the oven to clean it?”

Ever thought your grandparents were creepy? I always did.  My grandma use to stack plastic bags full of who-knows-what (shoes, dead animals, more plastic bags… body parts?) to the ceiling, and had a never-ending supply of random lollies that I had never heard of before. But in all my complaining my grandparents were nothing in comparison to the freaky grandparents that star in M. Night Shyamalan’s new horror/thriller The Visit.  

The Visit is a first-person shaky cam documentary of Becca (DeJonge) and Tyler’s (Oxenbould) visit to their grandparent’s house in the middle of nowhere.  Because of their mother’s estrangement with her parents Becca and Tyler had never met their grandparents and are excited to spend the week with them.  However, as their visit progresses, Becca and Tyler start to notice peculiar things about their grandparents and the farm they are staying at.  Why aren’t they allowed out of their room at 9:30pm, why can’t they go down to the basement, and why does grandma keep getting them to clean the oven?  As the children investigate further into the mystery of their grandparents they soon discover things that will chill them to their bones.

Besides creepy old people another focus of the film is the granddaughter Becca’s attempts to uncover the secret reason behind the rift between her mother and grandparents.  What did she do to that was so unforgiveable? What could they have done for her to not want to speak to them for all these years?

In her attempts to stop Becca from uncovering secrets from the past the mother tries to explain to her that: “You don’t need to search for forgiveness, it was there whenever I wanted it.”

This deep theological statement reminded me of one of my favourite verses – Isaiah 43:25:

“I, even I, am he who blots your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more”

We don’t need to search for forgiveness; it has already been given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Not only are we given forgiveness but our sins from our past as well as our future have already been forgotten.  I am an extremely sinful human and fail time and time again.  To know that I have been forgiven is more comforting than words can describe.  

If you’re a fan (like I am) of Shyamalan’s work as a director and writer (The Sixth Sense, The Village, Signs) then you will be familiar with what to expect when it comes to his movies – deep character development, unconventional camera work and the inevitable plot twist that Shyamalan is renowned for.

The Visit slowly builds in intensity creating an increasing disturbing discomfort in your chest until the “Shyamalan” pin drops – which by this point you’re looking for the closest cinema exit to flee as quick as possible.

If you love Shyamalan and horror/thrillers then you’ll like this one.  Just don’t expect to want to visit your grandparents soon after watching this film. Sorry grandma! I give The Visit three-and-a-half out of five stars.

The Visit is screening in cinemas everywhere.

For more film reviews from a Christian perspective, connect with Reel Gospel on Facebook and Twitter.

One thought on “Film Review: The Visit

  1. I’m glad to see that Shyamalan’s mind is somewhat coming back together. His early work is so good, its a shame how poor his latest films have been. Great review.

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